Ritchie County

Ritchie County

Derek Steve Hogue

The Gilmer Free Press

Derek Steve Hogue

Age 31, of Pennsboro, WV (Lamberton Road Community), departed this life on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Derek was born October 13, 1983, in Parkersburg, WV, the son of Steve and Lisa (Griffith) Hogue of Pennsboro, WV (Lamberton Road Community).

Derek was a proud graduate of Ritchie County High School with the class of 2002. He had a great passion for working on and operating computers. Derek also greatly enjoyed RC cars, dirt bike racing, and his video games. He will always be remembered by his wonderful personality and was always there to help anyone in need. He was truly loved by all and will be missed by many.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his sister, Darci Hogue of West Union, WV; maternal grandma, Ruby Griffith of Pennsboro, WV; aunts and uncles, Norma Ridgway of TX; Linda Freeland of Pennsboro, WV; Kimberly DuLaney of St. Marys, WV (Shultz Road); Teresa Jones of Pennsboro, WV; Pam Fox of Harrisville, WV; Mike Hogue, Pat Hogue, and Johnny Mac Hogue all of Pennsboro, WV; great aunts and uncles, Keith & Jean Cronin of Harrisville, WV and John & Shirley Hogue of NC; special cousins, Kristin Schmidt of New Matamoras, OH; Devon Hammett of Pennsboro, WV; Amanda McNally of Columbus, OH; Jaden & Garrett McNally of Columbus, OH; Dustin Rogers of Harrisville, WV; Kaitlyn DuLaney of St. Marys, WV; John Ridgway of TX; Cindy Fuchs of TX; and his cat, Macky. Derek will also be missed by Kaddessa, Deliah, Cooper, Sadie, Skylar, & Arianna.

He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Edwin & Blondina Hogue; maternal grandpa, William Griffith Jr.; uncles, Charles “Charlie” Hogue; Craig Hogue; Eddie Jones, and his cousins, Glenn Lee Rogers III and Cory Jones.

Funeral services will be 1 PM, Monday, February 02, 2015, at McCullough Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro.

Burial will follow in the Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 3 PM - 8 PM on Sunday, at the funeral home.

Sports News   150130

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Redskins’ RGIII says he wasn’t healthy last season and ‘it sucked’

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III joined ESPN 980′s Chris Russell on Wednesday to talk about his Family of 3 Foundation, recent changes to the coaching staff and the team’s dreadful 2014 season. Griffin said he can’t wait to work with new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and “add more knowledge to the bank.” He’s also looking forward to being fully healthy again.

“Last year I wasn’t healthy, and it sucked, so there’s no other way to say it other than that,” Griffin said. “When you dislocate your ankle in the second week of the season, when you and your team have big things in mind. It’s just getting healthy, getting the mental break getting a chance to spend time with family, and then formulate my plan going forward for this year and we can go out there and win games and be playing at this time next year.”

Griffin opened up more about the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 and Coach Jay Gruden’s decision to bench him before the Redskins’ Week 13 game at Indianapolis.

“For me, I rely heavily on my faith, and I feel like God allowed that to happen to me for a reason,” Griffin said of his injury. “It was to show me something, and yeah, it sucked. Nobody wants to have those things happen to them and we felt like we were going to be able to get on a roll after Jacksonville and put some wins together and have a much better season than we did. But the days after that, I had never suffered an ankle injury to that severity before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. And it just became more and more tough with the more games that we lost, because you know how hard the guys work and you want to get out there and help them win games. I could have sat out the rest of last year with as bad as the ankle was, but I felt like I could play, and I wanted to get out there and play with my guys and help them win games.

“And that didn’t happen when I got back out there, and coach made a decision. And that’s an unfortunate decision, and something we all had to go with because that was coach’s choice. But, at the end of the day I got to go back out there with my guys, we had a little bit of fun, we beat Philadelphia and the season didn’t close the way we wanted it to, but at the end of the day, we all know what we can do and we gotta go out there and do it, and there’s nothing that we can say that’s going to change what happened last year.”

Griffin said there’s no simple answer to how he can become a more consistent quarterback, but staying healthy, as much as a player can control that, is a start.

“For me, what I’ve learned is, at times like these you have to focus in on yourself a whole lot harder and that’s what I’ve tried to do,” Griffin said. “I’ve tried to figure what I can do to be more consistent, go out there and play the game that you love, the way that you know how to play it. Also for me, it’s to stay healthy so I don’t have to fight back from these injuries, because I know, as of late, I’ve made a habit of coming back from these injuries faster than other people. But that’s not by design, that’s because God has allowed me to do that. So stay healthy, go out and have fun and play the game, and the rest will fall into place. I think with the moves that we’ve made, that the coach and the GM have made, it will allow us to be in a better position to go out and win games, and I think all the guys are excited about that.”

Russell asked Griffin how he handles the speculation about his future in Washington.

“I’m indifferent to it, because if you’re riding those emotional roller-coasters based on what people say, it can really affect you and how you play all the time,” Griffin said. “For me, the way I put it is, I’m a Washington Redskin until they tell me I’m not. That’s all I can focus on, that’s all I’m going to focus on. Take care of my family, be there for my teammates, be there for the city. I know the city wants us to win just like we did in 2012, and we want that too, and we’re going to go to work to make sure that happens. We just have to put the work in and not really talk about it. I know we have to talk to the media, and that’s just part of what it is for us as players in the NFL, as you can see with Marshawn Lynch. But at the end of the day, we just have to go out and play, have fun, and not have any worries about anything else.”

Griffin also weighed in on the two biggest topics of Super Bowl week — Marshawn Lynch’s media appearances and Deflategate. Unlike teammate DeAngelo Hall, Griffin said he “can totally see where Marshawn’s coming from just from my own experience and just talking about myself.”

“I know they pump up the balls and they get inspected before every game, but I wasn’t aware that the ball had to be at a certain limit or higher, which is interesting,” Griffin said of Deflategate. “I think it’s very interesting. I think it could be something that we look at going into the future about how much we pump up the ball. But at the same time, for me, going this far in my career, all we worry about is can we grip the ball, not how much air is in it. We have our guy Pat rub the balls down with mud, and get the ball to where it’s not brand new, because a brand new ball is very slick. Other than that, we just make sure when we throw it that it feels good, and if it feels good, great, and if it doesn’t feel good, you throw it out.”

Finally, Griffin was asked whether he can take anything from watching Super Bowl quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson to improve his own game.

“They are one of the greatest scramble drill teams in the league, broken play, second-reaction play, whatever you want to call it,” Griffin said of Wilson’s Seahawks. “They do a great job of that. I think it just comes with the organizational support that [Brady and Wilson] have as well to be the players that they are, to understand that this is our guy no matter what. I think the [NFC Championship] game with the Packers shows that more than anything. When a guy goes out there and throws four interceptions and then leads them to a victory, I think that guy knows in the back of his head that his entire team has his back, and the entire organization has his back. And I think that’s important, and I think it’s been the same way for Tom Brady. I can take different pieces of their game, but I also understand the situations that they’re in, and try to take that as well, and know that this is how you build a winner, this is how you build a family-like atmosphere. And that’s what we’re trying to do with the Redskins, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”

►   Eagles promote Marynowitz to VP of player personnel

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly decided to go with youth over experience when picking his new vice president of player personnel on Thursday.

Ed Marynowitz, 30, is now Kelly’s right-hand man.

Marynowitz joined the Eagles in 2012 as the team’s assistant director of pro scouting and was promoted one year later to assistant director of player personnel.

“Ed is someone who has really impressed me going back to my interview process with the Eagles two years ago,“ said Kelly. “He’s very bright, detailed, organized and his vision was aligned with what we want to accomplish. I spoke with a lot of people outside of our organization over the past few weeks and in the end, Ed was the most impressive.“

The position opened up when the Eagles and Tom Gamble parted ways on December 31. A few days later owner Jeffrey Lurie did some more front-office reshuffling.

Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ general manager since 2010, was elevated to the role of executive vice president of football operations.

Kelly, who has led the Eagles to 10 wins in each of his first two seasons, took over full control of the player personnel department and led the search for a new personnel executive.

Marynowitz was part of the search team led by Lurie that brought Kelly to Philadelphia in 2013.

Prior to joining the Eagles, Marynowitz worked at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban as the school’s director of player personnel from 2008-11. The Crimson Tide won two BCS national championships during his time there.

“This is a great opportunity for Ed and I think Philadelphia made an excellent decision in terms of expanding his role and responsibilities in the organization,“ said Saban.

►   Patriots begin prep with Brady under the weather

They downplayed it but the New England Patriots conducted their first practice since arriving in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX with a quarterback feeling under the weather.

Tom Brady was a little worse for wear at Tuesday’s Media Day and copped to a cold a day later when he spoke to the media at the Pats’ team hotel in Chandler, Ariz.

“It’s been lingering,“ Brady told the assembled reporters before the team’s practice at the Arizona Cardinals facility. “I’m just trying to get some rest, and a lot of garlic. An old remedy, so I’m trying everything I can.“

Brady said his kids were first struck by the illness, followed by his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and he arrived in Arizona with the bug.

“It will be good to be back on the field,“ he said. “There is a lot that goes with Super Bowl week, so it will be good to get on the field and re-focus. We have our game plan set, so now it’s refining it and making sure it’s where we want it to be.“

New England coach Bill Belichick said Brady “took all the snaps” at a two-hour session on Wednesday and claimed he wasn’t worried about his QB’s condition.

According to a pool report, after extensive individual drills, the Patriots’ work included third-down situations, red-zone snaps and a series of down-and- distance tests.

“There’s always things to work on, but we’re grinding away,“ Belichick said.

On the injury front, starting center Bryan Stork, who wasn’t able to practice when drills began last week due to a knee injury, was a full participant.

With 75 degree weather it’s no surprise Belichick called the field conditions “great,“ and went with a Chip Kelly-like environment with music pumping during a large portion of the team drills, an effort to keep the players energized and also help with communication.

“In this game, you know, it’s kind of a neutral field, so you’ve got to be ready for (a loud crowd),“ Belichick said.

The Seahawks also started their preparation at Arizona State University with a full deck. All 53 Seattle players and its 10-man practice-squad were healthy enough to practice on what coach Pete Carroll calls “Competition Wednesday.“

“Terrific work,“ Carroll said. “Terrific day. The energy was there, and guys got good work in. This was an unusual day for the guys, with the media stuff in the middle of the day. We had meetings in the morning, then the media, then more meetings to prepare for practice, and then came out here. But the guys worked hard.“

Star cornerback Richard Sherman, who is dealing with a hyperextended elbow suffered in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay, had his arm wrapped but worked regularly with the defense and made a leaping interception.

All-Pro safety Earl Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Packers but was also showing no real ill effects on Wednesday, while offensive guard J.R. Sweezy alternated with the first-unit due to a balky ankle.

“We’re really fortunate to be this healthy,“ said Carroll. “If we can make it through practice (Thursday), we’ll be in great shape.“

►   Broncos bring back Phillips as defensive coordinator

The Denver Broncos have filled their vacant defensive coordinator position with a familiar face as they agreed to terms with Wade Phillips.

Phillips has ties both to new head coach Gary Kubiak and the Broncos. He served as Houston’s defensive coordinator under Kubiak starting in 2011 and took over as interim head coach in 2013, his last post in the NFL.

In his first season with Houston, Phillips inherited the league’s 30th-ranked defense and transformed it into a unit that finished second in total defense (285.7 ypg).

Phillips served as Denver’s defensive coordinator from 1989-92 and then took over as head coach from 1993-94. He led a third-ranked defense to a Super Bowl appearance in 1989.

The 67-year-old was also the defensive coordinator for Buffalo (1995-97), Atlanta (2002-03) and San Diego (2004-06). He was also the Bills’ vice president of football operations/head coach (1998-2000).

Phillips got his start under his father Bum Phillips, who was head coach of the Houston Oilers. He served as the Oilers’ defensive line coach from 1977-80 linebackers coach in 1979.

►   U.S. activists keep domestic violence in Super Bowl spotlight

As fans gather for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Arizona, billboard trucks are expected to travel around Phoenix with messages reminding revelers of what critics see as an inadequate NFL response to domestic violence involving star NFL players.

Dispatched by an anti-sexism group to the airport, hotels and other venues, the trucks will bear slogans including “55 Cases of Domestic Violence Unanswered” and call for commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.

“Plain and simple: The NFL doesn’t have the leadership to fix their violence against women problem, and Goodell needs to go for that to change,“ said Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of the group UltraViolet, which claims Goodell has ignored 55 incidents of domestic violence involving NFL players.

The NFL has faced criticism for its handling of domestic violence after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Rice last year was first suspended for two games and later suspended indefinitely.

The initial punishment drew fire for being too soft. That criticism has echoed in Phoenix ahead of the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, even as the most popular U.S. sports league continues to court female fans.

“The NFL is big business, I get that,“ said Pat Riegel, a Philadelphia woman who flew to Phoenix for the Super Bowl with a fellow female Eagles fan.

“But you can’t cover up something like that,“ she said. “They probably could’ve done a bit better ... In the end they did, but they were pressured.“


Over a generation, women have turned from casual NFL fans to an important demographic, and females now comprise about 45% of the NFL audience on TV and at stadiums. That is important for a league that aims to boost annual revenue from $9 billion now to $25 billion by 2027.

The league has had some success attracting women in recent years, creating NFL clothing designed for women and sending players to charity events on women’s issues.

Compounding the challenges the NFL faces in growing its female fan base, the league saw a slight dip in the number of women viewing televised games this season even as male viewership rose, according to Nielsen data.

The data, which did not pinpoint a cause, showed male viewers of regular 2014 season games rose by some 230,000 to an average of 11.56 million per game, while women viewers fell slightly to 6.06 million from 6.09 million the year before.

To be sure, annual viewership fluctuations have been common, but 2014 marked the first time in four years that men and women’s viewership have not trended in the same direction. NFL officials did not immediately respond to queries about the numbers.

Mary Jo Kane, a University of Minnesota sports sociology professor, said the dip in women viewers could have many causes, including publicity over head injuries and drunken driving cases.

“One could argue that the whole issue of concussion and being concerned about their sons and not watching it could also be an issue,“ Kane said. “... You have a lot of negative issues going on,“ Kane said.

Some 20,000 former players have brought a class-action lawsuit against the NFL that accuses it of having encouraged them to continue playing with brain injuries. The league denies concealing information related to head or brain injuries that might occur while playing.

In addition, at least nine NFL players have been arrested for DUI since the start of last year, according to media reports.


Goodell has unveiled a tougher discipline policy for off-field misconduct, and has hired four female senior advisers to help shape domestic violence policies.

Among them is Lisa Friel, who led the New York County Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for more than a decade.

“He is not just looking for the media attention to go away or for this to die down and then go back to business as usual,“ Friel said of Goodell.

But after the Rice incident, one notable sponsor, Procter & Gamble Co’s Crest, said in October it would no longer offer pink mouth guards to players for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Other sponsors have expressed concerns to the league, underlining the risk to the NFL, which has almost maxed out its U.S. male audience, from any perception among women it has mishandled domestic violence cases.

Marti Barletta, author of “Marketing to Women,“ said the league stumbled early on, but she hailed a “No More” campaign against domestic violence launched in October.

A chilling “No More” ad, featuring a 911 call from a domestic violence victim who pretends to be ordering pizza because her attacker is with her, will air during Sunday’s game.

“If women see Roger Goodell is making a good faith effort to get caught up on the norms of 2015 culture, I think they will come around,“ Barletta said. Football “is just too much a part of American culture.“

►   Browns’ Josh Gordon defends himself in letter to Charles Barkley and his other critics

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension after again violating the NFL’s drug policy, this time following a positive test for alcohol. This latest misstep — Gordon missed 10 games last season stemming from a DUI arrest and a previous suspension for a failed marijuana test; he also was suspended for Cleveland’s final game for violating team policy — drew substantial criticism and worry from a number of commentators.

“This is very personal to me,” Charles Barkley said on ESPN’s “His and Hers.” “I have a brother who’s dead … Josh Gordon is going to die if he keeps going on this road he’s going.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, meanwhile, said he was “done” with Gordon. The network’s Cris Carter, who also faced problems with substance abuse during his NFL career and previously said the Browns should cut Gordon, also expressed concern for him following the latest incident.

Now Gordon is firing back at his critics. In a letter posted on The Cauldron, he apologized for recent events while also condemning Barkley and the others for not knowing the full story:

                          First, words cannot express the remorse and regret I feel over this latest incident. I acknowledge that the repeated transgressions that have led up to this point have damaged my credibility, and for that, the only person to blame is me.

                          I have let down many in Cleveland — my Browns teammates, our hard-working coaching staff, the team’s ownership, and the loyal fan base that wants nothing more than to win. Playing there is different than in many other cities. We feel the fans’ pain. We know how important this is to them.

Gordon then went on to describe his harsh upbringing in a poor section of Houston called Fondren. His father wasn’t around much, and his family moved around constantly. When his older brothers moved out, “I started hanging out with the wrong kind of people,” Gordon wrote, continuing:

                          The kind who would think nothing not only of carrying guns, but using them. Back then, smoking marijuana wasn’t an addiction for any of us — we were still boys, basically. It was just what everyone did. It was everywhere, just like alcohol was.

                          So Charles, Stephen A., Cris — you judge me now, but what if you came from where I come from? Heck, maybe you did experience similar upbringings, but I wouldn’t know, because I do not know you. Each of you have dealt with more than your fair shares of self-inflicted controversies, though, that I do know.

Gordon went on to describe the events that led to his latest failed test:

                          On January 02 of this year, just days after our season ended earlier than we all had hoped — and yes, my actions during the prior offseason definitely contributed to our failure to make the playoffs; it killed me seeing our guys fight so hard when I wasn’t out there with them — I boarded a private flight to Las Vegas with several teammates. During the flight, I had two beers and two drinks. It was the first time I had consumed so much as a drop of alcohol since July 4, 2014, the day of the DWI.

                          Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a drinker. Even calling me a social drinker would be an exaggeration, but at that moment, on that flight, I made a choice. The wrong choice, as it turned out.

                          Upon landing, I received the all-too-familiar notice by phone that I was to report to a testing location within four hours. I failed the test, obviously, and the rest is history … colored by media speculation and faux outrage.

                          In the end, of course, I failed myself.

                          It doesn’t matter if I thought that the league-imposed restriction on drinking had expired at the end of the regular season; what matters is that I didn’t confirm whether or not that was the case. Now, that oversight has further jeopardized my relationship with my team and our fans, my reputation, and maybe even my career.


The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

#3 Greater Beckley Christian 81     #5 Gilmer County 57

Roane County 56     Braxton County 51

Clay County 64     Calhoun County 51

Lewis County 76     North Marion 38

Tyler Consolidated 52     Wirt County 47

#5 Robert C. Byrd 75     Grafton 46

#2 Bridgeport 57     Buckhannon-Upshur 47

#3 Fairmont Senior 84     Liberty 50

Philip Barbour 69     East Fairmont 61

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

#4 Williamstown 69     Ritchie County 59

#7 Notre Dame 48     Parkersburg Christian 22

Parkersburg 89     Capital 49

Parkersburg Catholic 58     St. Marys 51

►   Big Atlantic Classic

Monday’s Results

Game 1 — Greater Beckley Christian 82, Moorefield 51 (boys A)

Game 2 — Gilmer County 71, Sherman 59 (boys A)

Tuesday’s Results

Game 3 — Westside 81, Wyoming East 67 (boys AA)

Game 4 — Scott 70, Liberty Raleigh 46 (boys AA)

Wednesday’s Results

Game 5 — Moorefield 78, Sherman 33 (boys A consolation)

Game 6 — Liberty Raleigh 48, Wyoming East 46 (boys AA consolation)

Game 7 — Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 81, Blue Ridge 39 (boys national)

Game 8 — St. Albans 64, Wyoming East 59 (girls)

Thursday’s Results

Game 9 — George Washington 76, Brooke 34 (girls)

Game 10 — Morgantown 67, Huntington 57 (girls)

Game 11 — Greater Beckley Christian 81, Gilmer County 57 (boys A championship)

Game 12 — Greenbrier East 75, Oak Hill 39 (girls)

Today’s Games

Game 13 — Brooke vs. Huntington (girls co-consolation), 2 PM

Game 14 — Parkersburg South vs. Princeton (boys AAA), 4 PM

Game 15 — Shady Spring vs. Martinsburg (boys AAA), 5:40 PM

Game 16 — Greenbrier East vs. Hampshire (boys AAA), 7:20 PM

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson vs. Washington (boys AAA), 9 PM

Saturday’s Games

Game 18 — Wyoming East vs. Oak Hill (girls co-consolation), 9 AM

Game 19 — Game 14 loser vs. Game 15 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 10:40 AM

Game 20 — Game 16 loser vs. Game 17 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 12:20 PM

Game 21 — Westside vs. Scott (boys AA championship), 2 PM

Game 22 — St. Albans vs. Greenbrier East (girls co-championship), 4 PM

Game 23 — Game 14 winner vs. Game 15 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 5:40 PM

Game 24 — George Washington vs. Morgantown (girls co-championship), 7:20 PM

Game 25 — Game 16 winner vs. Game 17 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 9 PM

The Gilmer Free Press

►   MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Concord 66, West Virginia Wesleyan 61 | Final Stats

Concord held off West Virginia Wesleyan late and picked up a 66-61 win over the Bobcats at the Carter Center.

The Mountain Lions (12-6, 8-5) saw its 12-point second half lead dwindle to a basket at 63-61 with 1:38 to go. WVWC (8-11, 6-7) had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer in the final seconds, but it wouldn’t fall, and CU added two more free throws to ice the game.

Aaron Miller led the way for Concord with 18 points. Mike Boyd scored 17 points and Jametrius Wade finished with 10.

West Virginia Wesleyan’s Taylor Price led the Bobcats with 21 points and seven rebounds. Tanner McGrew recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Charleston 71, Shepherd 54 | Final Stats

Charleston pulled away from Shepherd in the second half to claim a 71-54 win over the Rams at the Butcher Center.

Jevonte Hughes led UC (14-5, 9-4) with 18 points. Cameron Dozier added 13 points for the Golden Eagles.

Shepherd (11-8, 6-7) was led by 13 points from Austin Cunningham. Morgan McDonald added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

#10 West Liberty 108, Notre Dame 74 | Final Stats

West Liberty shot a tidy 58 percent from the field, committed just eight turnovers and out-rebounded Notre Dame 12 in a 108-74 win over the Falcons at Murphy Gym.

Seger Bonifant scored 27 points to lead the 10th-ranked Hilltoppers (16-2, 11-2). Devin Hoehn added 17 points, while C.J. Hester scored 15 and added six rebounds. Zach Grossenbacher had 13 points off the bench and pulled down a team-best eight rebounds for WLU.

Notre Dame (10-9, 6-7) was led by 21 points from Lawrence DeArmond. Tyree Gaiter had 14 points, and Will Vorhees had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. 

Glenville State 75, UVa-Wise 57 | Final Stats

Glenville State took an early lead and never looked back in a 75-57 win over UVa-Wise on the road at the Prior Center.

Brett Morris scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Pioneers (15-4, 11-2). Sedric Nady scored 14, while Juwan Wells had 10 points and nine rebounds. Donte Morales also scored 10 points, and Brien Winsten had 11 rebounds to go with nine points.

UVa-Wise (1-17, 0-13) was led by Brian Sydnor’s 16 points. Philip Owens had 14 points, all of which came in the game’s final 20 minutes. 

Fairmont State 92, West Virginia State 75 | Final Stats

Nick Harney and Thomas Wimbush each poured in 24 points to lead Fairmont State to a 92-75 win over West Virginia State at Joe Retton Arena.

FSU (13-6, 10-3) shot 48 percent from the field and 10-of-20 from three-point range. Shammgod Wells added 13 points and six rebounds and Jamel Morris finished with 11.

Dominic Phillips scored 17 points to lead WVSU (3-17, 3-9). Tyrie Elliott scored 15, while Damion Harris added 14.

Wheeling Jesuit 87, Urbana 77 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit continued its winning ways with an 87-77 win over Urbana at the Grimes Center.

The Cardinals, winners of four straight, improved to 10-7 overall and 6-6 in the MEC. Urbana dropped to 4-15 overall and 1-12 in conference play.

Justin Fritts led all scorers with 24 points for WJU. Tim Goff added 14 and Kyle Ritz scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Eric Seifert had 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven points.

Matt Csuhran led the Blue Knights with 19 points. Myles Busby and Ognjen Rebic each scored 14, and Rodney Clark Jr. scored all of his 13 points in the second half. 

►   MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Charleston 71, Shepherd 62 | Final Stats

Charleston outscored Shepherd 17-3 in the final six minutes to claim a 71-62 win over Shepherd at the Butcher Center.

With the win, UC (15-4, 10-3) forged a tie at the top of the MEC standings with the Rams (13-6, 10-3).

A close game throughout, Shepherd took a 59-54 lead on an Alex Weakland free throw with 6:18 left. UC went 3-for-5 from the field and 10-of-15 from the free throw line to close the game, while Shepherd managed just one field goal and commited four turnovers in the final six minutes.

LeAnne Ross led the way for UC with 23 points, while Monet Saunders had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Ashley Milligan added 11 off the bench, and Nichole Perry had 10.

Rachel Johnson had 17 points for Shepherd. Cara Mason contributed 15 points and a game-high eight assists. 

West Virginia Wesleyan 57, Concord 56 | Final Stats

Kiki DeVane’s with seven second left capped a 15-point second half rally as West Virginia Wesleyan defeated Concord, 57-56, at the Carter Center.

The Bobcats (2-14, 2-11) trailed by 15 with 15:10 to go, but chipped away over the next 11 minutes to cut the lead to just one at 47-46 with 4:03 left. Tied at 50-50, CU’s Rachel Artrip and WVWC’s Allie Browne traded threes, and then Browne added two more free throws giving the Bobcats a 55-53 lead. Atrip hit again from three putting the Mountain Lions up by a point, but DeVane’s jumper in the waning seconds fell, and WVWC held on for the win.

Mari Stewart led West Virginia Wesleyan with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Browne finished with 13 and Adrian Cunningham had 12.

Artrip led CU (5-12, 5-8) with 15 points. Kylie Molisee had 14 and Olivia Morgan scored 13.

Notre Dame 77, West Liberty 68 | Final Stats

 Martha Nagbe’s 33-point effort led Notre Dame to a 77-68 win over West Liberty on Thursday at Murphy Gym.

Notre Dame (12-7, 8-5) closed the game on a 10-1 run over the final two minutes that broke a 67-67 tie. WLU (12-7, 9-4) was just one for its last seven from the field in the game.

Lauren Langenderfer added 17 points for NDC. Kelsey Miller scored 10.

Kailee Howe paced the Hilltoppers with 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Hillary Southworth and Liz Flowers each scored 14, and Kierra Simpson had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

Glenville State 63, UVa-Wise 54 | Final Stats

Glenville State picked up its third-straight win with a 63-54 victory over UVa-Wise at the Prior Center. 

Keyanna Tate led GSC (9-8, 7-6) with a double-double scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Briana Smythe had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers.

UVa-Wise (6-13, 5-8) was led by 14 points and 15 rebounds from Kayla Carey. Allison Ball came off the bench to score 13 and Blair Harding had 12.

Fairmont State 78, West Virginia State 64 | Final Stats

Fairmont State shot 54 percent from the field in the second half to claim a 78-64 win over West Virginia State at Joe Retton Arena.

The Falcons (15-4, 9-4) were led by 24 points from Hailey Garrett. Hallie Gunnoe scored 14, Emily Lohr had 11, and Emily Puskarich and Deidra Combs each finished with 10. 

Shealyn Shafer led WVSU (5-12, 3-9) with 17 points and eight rebounds. Deyahnna Styles had 16 points to go with four assists.

Wheeling Jesuit 71, Urbana 61 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit closed the first half on a 14-3 run that propelled it to a 71-61 win over Urbana at the Grimes Center.

Breanna Butler led all players with 25 points for WJU (11-5, 8-4). Jaila Bryant added 14 and Lydia Hyburg came off the bench to score 12 points and grab nine rebounds.

Urbana (1-18, 1-12) was led by 21 points from Kate Francisco. Kennedy Boggs scored 19 and Katy Barkley finished with 10.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 69, Missouri 53

Andrew Harrison scored 15 points and No. 1 Kentucky stayed unbeaten with a relatively restrained 69-53 win over Missouri on Thursday. The Wildcats (20-0, 7-0 SEC) made only two 3-pointers, blocked just one shot and recorded a mere eight assists. Still, they trailed for just 59 seconds, in part because of their 27-13 free throw advantage, but largely from their seemingly impenetrable defense, which forced 15 turnovers. Aaron Harrison scored 11 points, Devin Booker added nine, and Dakari Johnson chipped in eight points and seven rebounds for the victors. Kentucky is off to its first 20-0 start under John Calipari and sent Missouri (7-13, 1-6) to its first six-game losing streak since the 2005-06 season. Wes Clark led the Tigers with 19 points, while Johnathan Williams III added 10 points in a losing cause.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 64, Portland 46

Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and No. 3 Gonzaga pulled away in the second half to defeat Portland 64-46 on Thursday night. Przemek Karnowski posted 10 points and 11 boards for the Bulldogs (21-1, 10-0 WCC), who have won 14 straight games since their lone loss at Arizona on Dec. 6. Volodymyr Gerun pulled down 15 rebounds to lead Portland (12-10, 3-7), which didn’t have a single player reach double figures in scoring.

Final Score: UCLA 69, (11) Utah 59

Norman Powell scored 23 points to help UCLA remain unbeaten at home in Pac-12 play and knock off No. 11 Utah, 69-59. The Bruins lost three players to the first round of the NBA draft in 2014 and haven’t been able to replace the productivity that Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine provided. They are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent memory, though Thursday’s upset over Utah was certainly a step in the right direction. Bryce Alford had 14 points and seven assists and Isaac Hamilton scored 11 for UCLA, which exacted revenge from an embarrassing 71-39 loss to Utah on Jan. 4. Alford went scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting in that game. UCLA (12-9, 4-4 Pac-12) snapped its two-game losing skid. Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor gave 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Utes (16-4, 6-2), who may have lost more than a game. Freshman center Jakob Poeltl, one of the best young 7-footers in college basketball, left the game with an apparent foot injury.

Final Score: Ohio State 80, (16) Maryland 56

Ohio State continues to pile up wins at home. Thad Matta’s Buckeyes and star freshman D’Angelo Russell beat another ranked opponent at Value City Arena. Russell had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists as Ohio State easily knocked off No. 16 Maryland 80-56 on Thursday night for its 103rd win at home since 2009. That’s the most in the country by a healthy margin over national powerhouses Kentucky and Syracuse. Russell continued to impress, making half of his 12 shots and four 3-pointers on the heels of being named Big Ten Player of the Week after scoring 55 points in wins over Northwestern and nationally-ranked Indiana. Marc Loving led the Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3) with 19 points, making all five of his 3s, and Jae’Sean Tate scored 16. Dez Wells scored 12 points to lead Maryland (18-4, 6-3) and Jake Layman had 10.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: Indiana 103, New York 82

Rodney Stuckey scored a game-high 22 points, Roy Hibbert recorded a double-double, and the Indiana Pacers cruised past the New York Knicks 103-82 on Thursday. Hibbert totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who snapped their three-game home losing streak by dominating the second and third quarters. Solomon Hill and David West each scored 10 points for an offense that connected on 53 percent of their shots and owned a 50-26 edge in the paint. Not even a surprise start by Carmelo Anthony could keep the Knicks close. The All-Star forward was questionable on the second game of a back-to-back and finished with 18 points, but New York’s defense did not duplicate its efforts over the past two weeks. During a five-game stretch that saw them go 4-1, the Knicks allowed just 91.4 points per game—more than 10 points fewer than their season average. They reverted back to their sieve-like ways against the Pacers, who scored 67 points during the second and third quarters on 63 percent shooting.

Final Score: Milwaukee 115, Orlando 100

Brandon Knight tallied 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals and the Milwaukee Bucks ended a 10- year winless drought in Orlando with a 115-100 victory over the Magic. Jerryd Bayless led seven Bucks in double figures with 19 points. Khris Middleton and Jared Dudley added 17 apiece and John Henson posted 12 points and 11 rebounds in Milwaukee’s first win in Orlando since Dec. 29, 2004, a stretch that included 17 straight losses. The win is fitting considering the Bucks had won six of seven road games against Eastern Conference opponents coming in, and the Magic were mired in a six-game losing skid. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Victor Oladipo scored 21 points in the setback. Orlando also fell to 0-16 this season when allowing 100-plus points at home.

Final Score: Memphis 99, Denver 69

Fresh off an All-Star snub, Zach Randolph continued to let his game speak for itself. And another double-double followed. Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies routed the Denver Nuggets 99-69 on Thursday night. It was Randolph’s 11th straight double-double. Jeff Green netted 13 points, while Marc Gasol added 10 points and seven rebounds for Memphis, which has won eight of its last nine games since Green was traded to the Grizzlies from the Boston Celtics two weeks ago. Mike Conley, who was another snub on the Western squad, sat for a second consecutive game due to a wrist sprain. Kenneth Faried posted 10 points and seven boards for the Nuggets, who have dropped eight of their last nine contests.

Final Score: LA Lakers 123, Chicago 118 (2-OT)

The Los Angeles Lakers spoiled Pau Gasol’s return to Staples Center. It turned out to be a lot harder than it should’ve been. Jordan Hill had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers defeated the Chicago Bulls 123-118 in double overtime on Thursday night. The Lakers squandered a 15-point second half advantage and a nine-point cushion late in regulation. Chicago didn’t take it first lead until the early moments of the first overtime when Derrick Rose knocked down a 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark. Hill, though, sent the game into another extra session with a late jumper from the left wing in overtime and LA pulled away in the second OT. Gasol, who helped the Lakers win two NBA titles during his six-plus seasons in the City of Angels, received a standing ovation from the crowd following a video tribute during his introduction. Gasol then walked out to halfcourt and waved to the fans. The spectators were given T-shirts that said “Thanks Pau” on the front with a list of his accomplishments with the Lakers on the back. Gasol, whose tip-in tied the game at 98-98 with 11 seconds left in regulation, finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Wayne Ellington posted 23 points and five rebounds for the Lakers, who snapped a nine-game losing streak. Jimmy Butler netted a career-high 35 points to go with seven boards, while Joakim Noah pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out nine assists for Chicago, which had won three of its last four games coming in. Derrick Rose, who was 7-of-26 from the floor, poured in 17 points to go with six helpers in defeat.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Former Mets GM Minaya joins MLBPA

Former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya is joining the Major League Baseball Players Association staff as a senior advisor to executive director Tony Clark.

Minaya spent the past three years with the San Diego Padres as a senior vice president of baseball operations.

The 56-year-old Minaya will focus on the areas of domestic game development and international affairs and play.

“I have long considered myself a players’ administrator with a complete belief that the players are not only the face of the game, but they provide the sport with its heart and soul,“ said Minaya.

“I share the players’ and Tony’s views on the state of the game, especially as they relate to what active and inactive players are doing to help develop the game, widen its appeal and excite the next generation of players, while ensuring the integrity of the competition on the field is maintained.“

After injuries ended his playing career, Minaya joined the Texas Rangers’ scouting team in 1985, where he helped sign Sammy Sosa.

Minaya became baseball’s first Hispanic general manager when the Montreal Expos hired him in 2002. From 2005-10, he was the Mets’ GM.

“We feel fortunate to be in a position to hire someone with Omar’s experience and reputation,“ said Clark. “His vast and diverse knowledge of all aspects of the sport will afford the union and our members an unprecedented and invaluable level of expertise in any of a growing number of issues of importance to players, domestically and abroad.“

Minaya joined the Padres in 2011.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   With 12th goal this month, Alex Ovechkin overtakes NHL’s lead

Wednesday night, for the first time all season, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer received his team’s most prestigious internal honor. Forward Alex Ovechkin already had vaulted himself past Tyler Seguin and Rick Nash, the latest monstrous effort in a torrid January. Now, when the time came for forward Jason Chimera to pass along the beard and stovetop pipe hat bestowed upon the team’s designated Honest Abe, something he had waited to do through four straight losses, he offered a simple explanation for his choice.

“Leaders lead,” Coach Barry Trotz recalled Chimera saying. “And he led today.”

The scene for Wednesday night seemed to conspire against the Washington Capitals, with them limping home after falling to Columbus and their rivals starting a rested all-star goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. They had won only one of eight games in the tail sections of back-to-backs this season too. Ovechkin’s hot streak, with six points in his previous four games, boded well, but what good was it if the Capitals had lost all four?

A 4-0 romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins offered the best of both worlds. Ovechkin redirected Karl Alzner’s point shot past Fleury early into the first period, then blasted his typical power-play one-timer in the second, his 28th and 29th tallies of the season, respectively. The Capitals attempted 52% of the even-strength shot attempts with him on the ice, according to, and Ovechkin alone hammered nine pucks at Fleury.

This happened one night after Columbus all but left him alone on the power play, daring him to score, withstanding a first-period barrage and holding him without a goal.

“I just think when Alex is determined, the way he is, lately, he creates much good offense,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s dangerous. Every night you look at the stat sheet. If he scores or not, he’s got 10 shots. There’s guys in the league who go a month without 10 shots sometimes. I think he’s having fun … He’s been doing a really good job.”

Parse the statistics any way you please. His plus-12 rating leads all Capitals forwards. Whenever he skates at even strength, Washington records 54.1% of the total shot attempts, most among any skater with at least 500 minutes, per He should be regarded as a front-runner to win his third straight Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and now leads all NHL skaters with 12 goals (and 15 points) in 12 games this month. No one his sniffing him either; Columbus’ Ryan Johansen ranks second, with eight goals in 11 games.

His scores against Pittsburgh came in wildly different ways. With the top line welcoming Jay Beagle into its midst, promoted there to replace Andre Burakovsky, the group adopted a cycle-heavy style that promoted its strength, and Ovechkin’s deflection reflected just that. After Beagle worked the puck into the offensive zone, somehow kept it alive while stumbling to his knees and dished to Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin circled around into the crease.

A cross-ice pass found Karl Alzner at the opposite point. Meantime, Ovechkin saw the sequence developing and moved into position. He boxed out defenseman Simon Despres, bending over and extending his stick forward. The puck hopped up and past Fleury.

“Ovi’s a big man, and Backie’s stronger than anybody even thinks, and Beags is one of those guys that’s really determined and he can keep pucks alive,” Trotz said. “I thought their cycle game was tight. It wasn’t 85 feet away. They were tight, they had good close support and they were working it right. They weren’t falling off the pile.”

The net-front deflection was Ovechkin’s first this season, a so-called greasy goal atypical of someone armed with his shooting precision, but his second goal came in more familiar fashion. Backtstrom to Mike Green to Ovechkin, right on his tape for a one-timer. A one-knee slide, a kiss of the hand, a two-goal lead.

“I was just trying to read their PK there,” Backstrom said. “I was just waiting. Sometimes that’s paying off. Good feed by Greener over to Ovi too, and obviously a good shot. Big goal.”

Still, the lingering image of Ovechkin’s Wednesday night might have come in the meaningless moments, when he and defenseman Christian Erhoff careened together toward the boards. Ovechkin reached the puck first, so Erhoff crunched him into the glass. Ovechkin extended his arms, bracing for impact and trying to shake the hit off him, but caught Erhoff in an awkward position. It must have looked, at first blush for the official who raised his hand, like Ovechkin crushed Erhoff backwards, his head bouncing off the ice, so two minors – roughing and holding – were called.

The aftermath, while Erhoff needed help standing up and leaving the ice, netted a two-minute roughing for Zach Sill, and the Capitals eventually killed off the difference.

“Probably naturally, the puck’s there, you’re pushing him off and going for the puck,” Trotz said. “Just Ovi’s so strong, the young man went down harder. The referee came over, said that’s a judgment call, I thought he pushed him hard and got injured there. Called a penalty. Use your arms, there’s a little bit of judgment. There’s nothing malicious. It’s just a hockey play. Unfortunately the young man got hurt a little bit.”

Had the penalty mattered more in the overall context, Trotz may have expressed a different opinion. But it didn’t. Ovechkin had scored twice. He had tied Peter Bondra for the franchise record with 93 multi-goal games. The leader had led.

►   NHL Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: Boston 5, NY Islanders 2

Tuukka Rask made 43 saves, Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith tallied three points each and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Thursday. Lucic and Smith each had a goal and two assists to help Boston win for the seventh time in its last nine games. Patrice Bergeron, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins. The Islanders got goals from John Tavares and Michael Grabner but had a two-game winning streak snapped. Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 32 shots.

Final Score: Montreal 1, NY Rangers 0

Carey Price made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season, and the Montreal Canadiens blanked the New York Rangers 1-0 on Thursday. Max Pacioretty scored the lone goal with 4:17 remaining in the third period, helping the Canadiens extend their win streak to four games. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 25 saves for the Rangers, who have dropped two straight following the All-Star break. They had been on a 16-3-0 tear prior to the hiatus.

Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Winnipeg 2

Nick Schultz picked up the game winner in the second period, while Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier scored in the third, as Philadelphia topped Winnipeg by a 5-2 count on Thursday. Wayne Simmonds and Chris VandeVelde also tallied for the Flyers, winners of three in a row and four of their last five. In his first start since Jan. 8, Steve Mason picked up his second straight positive result thanks to 36 saves. Mathieu Perreault potted both goals for the Jets, who have lost two straight since a five-game win streak. Michael Hutchinson took the loss despite 27 stops.

Final Score: Arizona 3, Toronto 1

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a short-handed goal five seconds into the third period—yes, five seconds—to kindle a rally that lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Coyotes snapped a seven-game losing streak and extended Toronto’s skid to eight games. Ekman-Larsson’s goal, which tied a franchise record for quickest to open a period, came from beyond center ice after Lauri Korpikoski won the faceoff. Martin Hanzal netted the go-ahead goal 3:42 later and Sam Gagner scored on a power play later in the period as Arizona broke out of an 0-5-2 slump. Mike Smith had 24 saves in the win, which also stopped a five-game road losing streak for the Coyotes, who are in the midst of an eight-game trek. It was their first win away from home since Dec. 23 in Edmonton.

Final Score: Dallas 6, Ottawa 3

John Klingberg snapped a tie in the latter stages of the third period before Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn added empty-net markers, and Dallas topped Ottawa by a 6-3 score on Thursday. Benn added a first-period goal, with Colton Sceviour and Ales Hemsky also lighting the lamp for the Stars, who put a two-game losing streak to rest. Kari Lehtonen provided a 25-save effort to back his offense. Mika Zibanejad, Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson scored once each for the Senators, who have lost seven of their last 10. Robin Lehner allowed four goals on 39 shots in the setback.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 1

Cedric Paquette notched his first career hat trick to power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Steven Stamkos and Mark Barberio also scored, Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn both tallied two assists and Ben Bishop made 27 saves for the Lightning, who set a franchise record with their ninth straight win at home. Darren Helm supplied the Red Wings’ lone goal as their six-game winning streak came to an end. Petr Mrazek allowed five goals on 15 shots, while Tom McCollum stopped all 17 shots he faced in the third period.

Final Score: Florida 3, Columbus 2

Sean Bergenheim’s goal with 6:52 remaining in the third period lifted the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Jonathan Huberdeau and rookie Aaron Ekblad both scored in the second period for the Panthers, who got 30 saves from Roberto Luongo. Florida ended a 10-game losing streak to the Blue Jackets, a six- game home skid and a five-game slide overall. Jack Johnson and rookie Alexander Wennberg had second-period goals for Columbus, which has dropped six of its last nine games. Curtis McElhinney gave up three goals on 31 shots.

Final Score: St. Louis 5, Nashville 4 (SO)

Brian Elliott made 33 saves and came up with three key stops in the shootout to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators, 5-4, on Thursday. On his 26th birthday, Kevin Shattenkirk scored the decisive goal in the shootout and added an assist in regulation. Jaden Schwartz, T.J. Oshie, Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves all tallied goals for the Blues in their third straight win. Mike Fisher scored twice for the Predators, who have lost three of their last four games. Filip Forsberg and James Neal also scored for Nashville, but Neal could not convert in the shootout to extend the game. Carter Hutton allowed four goals on 35 shots.

Final Score: Minnesota 1, Calgary 0

Devan Dubnyk stopped all 30 shots fired his way and made several big saves down the stretch for his third shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild beat the Calgary Flames 1-0 on Tuesday. Zach Parise continued his solid offensive play with the lone goal for the Wild, who ended a two-game skid. Parise now has six goals in his past six games. Jonas Hiller turned aside 31 shots for the Flames, who entered the game with wins in five of their previous six games.

Final Score: Edmonton 3, Buffalo 2

In a game that could be key in determining draft lottery odds between teams at the bottom of their respective conferences, the Edmonton Oilers prevailed over the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Thursday. Allowing two goals on 20 shots, Ben Scrivens was not particularly busy in net for Edmonton in its third win in its last four games. Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander each scored their first goal of the season for the Oilers, and Lander also tallied two assists. Matt Fraser scored Edmonton’s first goal. Jonas Enroth stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced as Buffalo dropped its 13th game in a row. Defensemen Tyler Myers and Rasmus Ristolainen each scored and Brian Gionta picked up assists on both goals.

Final Score: San Jose 6, Anaheim 3

Antti Niemi made 25 saves and six different Sharks scored as San Jose used a five-goal second period to ease past the Anaheim Ducks, 6-3, on Thursday. Patrick Marleau, Barclay Goodrow and James Sheppard each tallied a goal and an assist and Brenden Dillon, Matt Irwin and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who have won seven straight home games against the Ducks. Andrew Cogliano, Patrick Maroon and Matt Beleskey all lit the lamp for the Ducks, who had their six-game winning streak come to a screeching halt. Ilya Bryzgalov gave up all six goals on 25 shots and Frederik Andersen turned aside all eight shots fired his way in relief.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Williams, Sharapova set to meet in Aussie Open final

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in Saturday’s women’s Australian Open final after both women cruised to straight-set victories on Thursday.

Williams, looking to win her sixth Aussie Open title, took out fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to reach the final.

With the first set all even at 5-5, Williams was on serve when Keys went up 30-15 in the 11th game, but Williams took the next three points before Keys smashed a backhand down the line to knot it up at 40-all. Williams ended up taking the next two points to win the game, then Keys kept the back-and- forth affair going with an ace to force a tiebreak.

Williams had set point, up 6-3, in the tiebreak when the 19-year-old Keys fired two aces to close within one, but Williams countered with an ace on her next serve to take the stanza.

Williams pressured her opponent from the onset of the second set, taking the first game and breaking Keys in the process. However, Keys maintained composure and went up 40-15 in the next game. But Williams ended up grinding her way back and taking the game. After the two maintained serve over the next two games, Williams broke the unseeded Keys again and eased her way to the finish line.

This was the first career meeting between Williams and Keys.

The 33-year-old Williams is seeking her 19th Grand Slam singles championship and 65th career title overall. She is a perfect 5-0 in Aussie Open finals.

Williams is tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the second- most women’s Grand Slam titles in the Open Era behind Steffi Graf’s 22.

“I didn’t expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn’t playing great,“ Williams said after reaching her first Melbourne Park finale since 2010.

“I didn’t play well at Hopman. I was so off. I felt like I wasn’t moving well. I just wasn’t feeling great on the court.

“It’s been so long since I’ve even been in a final here. I was kind of like, ‘oh, let me just try’ (and) my theory now is to relax and play the match as best as I can.

“When I step on the court and hear the announcer, I don’t have to win anymore. I can just relax and have fun.“

Meanwhile, Sharapova reached her 10th career Grand Slam final by beating Russian countrymate Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets.

The former world No. 1 Sharapova, seeded No. 2 here behind Williams, rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win over the left-handed 10th seed Makarova in 87 minutes.

The former Aussie Open champion double-faulted seven times, but tallied 23 winners, including three aces in the win.

Sharapova has won 22 of her last 23 matches against fellow Russians and improved to 6-0 lifetime against Makarova, including 3-0 at the Australian Open following quarterfinals wins in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s been a strange road for me to get to the finals, but I’m happy,“ said Sharapova. “Came from behind in a few, really behind in one—saving match points. I felt like I was given a second chance. I just wanted to take my chances.“

The 26-year-old Makarova appeared in her second straight Grand Slam semifinal. She lost to Williams at last year’s U.S. Open.

The 27-year-old Sharapova is chasing her sixth career Grand Slam championship and 35th overall WTA title.

She’s 5-4 in Grand Slam finals, including 1-2 at the Australian Open. Sharapova titled here in 2008 and lost in Melbourne in 2007, to Serena, and 2012, to Victoria Azarenka.

Sharapova has yet to lose in 2015, going 10-0, including a title run in Brisbane a few weeks ago.

The powerful Williams is 16-2 lifetime against Sharapova, who has gone winless in their head-to-head series since 2004. The American is 4-1 in their Grand Slam matchups, including 2-0 in Melbourne. Sharapova beat Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

►   Murray advances to fourth Aussie Open final

Andy Murray is back in the Australian Open final.

This time, he’ll hope for a better result.

Murray advanced to his fourth final in the year’s first major with Thursday’s 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 semifinal victory over seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych.

After losing a tight opening set, which lasted 76 minutes, Murray gave himself a stern talking to at the sit down and proceeded to largely dominate. He converted six of his 10 break points and benefited from 56 unforced errors from Berdych.

Berdych snapped a 17-match losing run against Rafael Nadal in a straight- sets quarterfinal win over the Spaniard. His first-set victory over Murray marked his 16th successive set won in the tournament. It is the second year in a row that the Czech has fallen at the semifinal stage in Melbourne, having lost to Stan Wawrinka last year.

The 29-year-old Berdych, working with Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu, was trying to reach his second Grand Slam final after finishing runner-up to Nadal at Wimbledon in 2010.

Murray is now 5-6 lifetime against Berdych, who fell in 3 hours, 16 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. The Brit also topped the Czech in the 2012 U.S. Open semis.

Murray is coached by former women’s world No. 1 star Amelie Mauresmo.

“A lot of people criticized me working with her and I think so far this week we’ve shown that women can be very good coaches as well,“ Murray said. “Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman in Lindsay Davenport. And I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward in the future. So I’m very thankful for Amelie for doing it. It was a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a couple of days.“

The sixth-seeded Scot, though, has yet to win in Melbourne, falling in the 2010 title match to Roger Federer before losing to Novak Djokovic in both 2011 and 2013. On Sunday, he could again face the world No. 1 Djokovic, who will meet the fourth-seeded defending champion Wawrinka on Friday in the other men’s semifinal.

Murray is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open title after losing three finals.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist will play in his eighth career Grand Slam title match. He is 2-5 in such finals, winning the 2012 U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 2013.

The 27-year-old Murray is 31-14 overall in his career finals.

Berdych, meanwhile, was beaten in the Australian Open semis for the second year in a row. He lost to Wawrinka last year and has just one Grand Slam final on his resume—a loss to Nadal at Wimbledon in 2010.

On Friday, fans will be hoping for another epic when the four-time Aussie Open champ champion Djokovic faces Wawrinka for the third year in a row at Melbourne Park. Two years ago, Djokovic denied Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set of a fourth-round clash, but last year the Swiss got his revenge with a 9-7 fifth-set victory in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic is 16-3 lifetime against Wawrinka, including a 3-1 record at the majors.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is bidding to become the second man in history to win the Australian Open for the fifth time, joining Aussie great Roy Emerson. The Belgrade native won his first major title in Melbourne in 2008 and followed with three successive victories in 2011-13. He has a 48-6 match record at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic still has yet to drop a set in his ruthless run at this 2015 fortnight. He is through to his 25th Grand Slam semifinal, one behind Andre Agassi for the fourth most in the Open Era.

Wawrinka captured his first Grand Slam title here a year ago by stunning Nadal in the final.

►   Fognini reaches dubs final in Oz

Top-20 singles star Fabio Fognini will appear in the men’s doubles final at the 2015 Australian Open.

Fognini and fellow Italian Simon Bolelli upset a sixth-seeded tandem of Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Romania’s Horia Tecau 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at Melbourne Park.

Thursday’s other semifinal saw Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert outlast and upset a fourth-seeded duo of Croat Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5).

Mahut, who was a French Open doubles runner-up two years ago, is best known for playing in the longest-ever tennis match when he lost to John Isner in 11 hours, 5 minutes in five sets over a three-day span, including a mind-boggling 138-game fifth set, in the first round at Wimbledon back in 2010.

Saturday’s winning team will split $575,000.

►   Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Andy Murray (6) defeated Tomas Berdych (7), 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Stan Wawrinka (4), not before 3:30 AM ET

►   Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


P.Herbert/N.Mahut defeated I.Dodig/M.Melo (4), 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5)
S.Bolelli/F.Fognini defeated J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

S.Bolelli/F.Fognini vs. P.Herbert/N.Mahut

►   Williams sisters, Keys to play Fed Cup next week

Serena and Venus Williams and teenage Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys were selected to play Fed Cup tennis for the United States next week.

Team USA is trying to return to the World Group for 2016.

U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced that the 18-time major champion Serena and seven-time Grand Slam titlist Venus will be joined by Keys and 30th-ranked Varvara Lepchenko on a team that will face host Argentina in Buenos Aires from February 7-8.

The 19-year-old Keys upset Venus at the Aussie Open to reach her first major semifinal, where she lost to the top-ranked Serena on Thursday.

The Americans fell out of the Fed Cup’s World Group for just the second time since the current format was introduced back in 1995. They must defeat the Argentines then win another series in April to return to the top group next year.

Serena last played in the Fed Cup in 2013, the previous time the U.S. needed to win to get back into the World Group.

Former top-ranked junior Taylor Townsend will also join the team in Buenos Aires as a practice player.

►   Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Serena Williams (1) defeated Madison Keys, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Ekaterina Makarova (10), 6-3, 6-2

Serena Williams (1) vs. Maria Sharapova (2)

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Ocean Knight gets nod as Sam F. Davis Stakes favorite

Ocean Knight, who will be making just his second career start, is the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile Davis Stakes is the final local prep for the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 07 and has drawn a field of 12 3-year-olds.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Ocean Knight will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. from post 11 for owner Stonestreet Stable. Ortiz was aboard when the colt won his debut start at Aqueduct December 13 as the 2-1 favorite.

Starting from the inside post will be 4-1 second choice Catalina Red with Daniel Centeno again riding. The chestnut colt is owned by Anthony A. Lenci and trained by Chad Stewart.

Catalina Red won his last two starts, both stakes at Tampa Bay, after failing to find the winner’s circle his first three career efforts. He won the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay by 7 1/4 lengths on December 06 and three weeks later took the $100,000 Pasco as the 3-5 favorite, setting a track record for seven furlongs in 1:21.40.

“He came out of the Pasco in good shape, and he’s ready to go,“ said Stewart. “He is just a very smart horse. He stays relaxed, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion and he likes his job.“

The 9-2 third pick is Ami’s Flatter who will be ridden again by Luis Contreras from post 3. The colt, bred in Ontario, is owned by Ivan Dalos and trained by Josie Carroll.

Ami’s Flatter won his debut race at Woodbine on November 09 and began 2015 with a second at 13-1 to Bluegrass Singer on January 03 in Gulfstream Park’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes.

Here is the field for the Sam. F. Davis from the rail out: Catalina Red, Daniel Centeno, 4-1; Royal Son, John Velazquez, 8-1; Ami’s Flatter, Luis Contreras, 9-2; Crittenden, Fernando De La Cruz, 15-1; Divining Rod, Luis Garcia, 20-1; Bandages, Ron Allen Jr., 20-1; Brother Bobo, Gabriel Saez, 20-1; G Five, Rajiv Maragh, 10-1; My Johnny Be Good, Antonio Gallardo, 6-1; Coomer, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Ocean Knight, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-2 and Bears Personality, Edgar Prado, 20-1.

The Sam F. Davis has an approximate post time of 5:20 PM ET.

►   Take Charge Brandi even-money for Martha Washington Stakes

Champion filly Take Charge Brandi is the even-money morning line favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Owned by Willis Horton and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Take Charge Brandi begins her 3-year-old season in the mile stakes and will start from post 6 with veteran jockey Jon Court riding her for the first time. Six other 3-year-old fillies will take on the champ.

“I think the mile is a logical choice,“ the Hall of Fame trainer earlier said, referring to the Martha Washington distance.

Take Charge Brandi, who is being pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 01, won the 2014 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly primarily based on her 61-1 upset victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November.

The filly finished her Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old season by taking the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on December 13. That victory came just three weeks after capturing the Delta Downs Princess Stakes on November 22. The filly has won four of eight starts for $1,620,126.

The 7-2 second choice is Indian Annie who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. from post 4. The filly is trained by Steve Asmussen and partly owned by Whispering Oaks Farm.

Indian Annie has won two of her three starts, reaching the winner’s circle the second time out at Fair Grounds on November 22 and claiming an allowance race at Oaklawn on January 17.

Here is the field for the Martha Washington in post position order: Perfect Fit, Cliff Berry, 8-1; Cape Town Stevie, Emmanuel Esquivel, 30-1; High Dollar Woman, Joe Rocco Jr., 6-1; Indian Annie, Ricardo Santana Jr., 7-2; Sarah Sis, Julio Felix, 5-1; Take Charge Brandi, Jon Court, even and Sweet Corinna, Channing Hill, 10-1

Post time for the Martha Washington will be approximately 5:38 PM ET.

►   Palace Malice throws shoe, bruises foot

Eclipse Award finalist Palace Malice suffered an injury Wednesday while training and bruised his foot.

Owned by Dogwood Stable and Three Chimneys Farm, Palace Malice has a bruise in the sole of his foot after throwing a shoe and did not train Thursday and will not have a scheduled workout Friday morning.

“When the bruise has dissipated, he’ll resume training and will either have another breeze here and then ship to Florida, or he will leave once he’s sound,“ Dogwood president Cot Campbell said on the stable’s website.

The 5-year-old was going have his second workout of the year on Friday and jog Saturday morning. He was then being shipped to trainer Todd Pletcher in Florida on Sunday afternoon, but that will be delayed.

Palace Malice has not raced since suffering a bone bruise during the running of the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga last August.

A five race campaign has been put together for Palace Malice. His season will begin with the Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park on May 02.

“The logic of the five-race campaign was easily determined by Three Chimneys, Dogwood and Todd Pletcher,“ Campbell said. “The Westchester is the ideal Belmont prep for an appearance in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile, in which he defeated Goldencents two-time Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner this past year. We would follow with three Grade 1 stakes - the Whitney, early at Saratoga, the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in the fall and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.“

Palace Malice won last year’s Gulfstream Park and New Orleans Handicaps along with the Westchester and Met Mile. The colt has seven wins from 17 career starts for $2,676,135.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Wiesberger holds early advantage in Dubai

Bernd Wiesberger used a string of birdies down the stretch on Thursday to shoot a first-round, 8-under 64 and he holds a 1-shot lead in front of some big names at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Wiesberger has won two times in his career on the European Tour, both of which came in 2012 at the Ballantine’s Championship and the Lyoness Open. The 29- year-old also played his way into the final pairing at last year’s PGA Championship, where he wound up finishing tied for 15th.

“It feels good right now,“ said Wiesberger. “I feel quite happy with what I expect out of my game. When I’m in trouble, I know I can scramble well, which is the part you don’t see right now because I’m hitting the ball quite nicely.“

Lee Westwood, a 23-time winner on tour, finished the first round with a 7- under 65 on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club and he is tied for second with this year’s South African Open Championship winner Andy Sullivan, American Peter Uihlein and Nicolas Colsaerts.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, the 2009 champion, is just two shots back of the leader Wiesberger. McIlroy is tied for sixth at 6-under 66 with two-time defending champion and fellow European Ryder Cup team member Stephen Gallacher, Maximilian Kieffer, Anders Hansen, Seve Benson, Hennie Otto and Marc Warren.

After his collapse at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago, Martin Kaymer rebounded with a 5-under 67 and he is tied for 13th with six others.

Wiesberger got off to a neutral start when he made par on his first five holes from No. 1 before rolling in his first gain of the day on No. 6. Following a pair of pars on seven and eight, Wiesberger drained another birdie on No. 9 and followed that up with his second straight gain on the par-5 10th.

The best was still yet to come for Wiesberger. After making pars on 11 and 12, the Austrian rattled off five straight birdies from No. 13 to come from out of nowhere and take the lead. Wiesberger finished up with a par to finish alone atop the leaderboard after day one.

“It was a solid back nine I have to say,“ Wiesberger stated. “I got on a run at the end and could have birdied my last six holes there. Once I got the pace right on the greens, which were a bit slower than I expected, it went nicely.“

Westwood, beginning his day on the back nine, started off with a birdie at the 10th before making four straight pars from 11. Westwood then made birdie on three of his next six holes on 15, 17 and one.

A trio of pars from two preceded Westwood’s fifth birdie on five, and three holes later the Englishman ran off back-to-back birdies on eight and nine to end on a high note.

Sullivan continued his strong play early on this season as he made three birdies over his first five holes on 10, 13 and 14. Sullivan finished up his opening nine with an eagle on the par-5 18th and proceeded to make birdies on one and three after the turn. Sullivan concluded his first round with six straight pars from four.

Uihlein exploded out of the gate with a trio of birdies from No. 1 and he later made five birdies in a seven-hole span from No. 7, giving him the outright lead at minus-8. Down the stretch Uihlein tripped to his only bogey on No. 17 to fall back to 7-under and he finished up with a par at the last.

Colsaerts also had a strong start to his round with five birdies on his front nine on 11, 12, 13, 15 and 18. The Belgian continued his run around the turn with three more gains on one, three and seven, but a bogey on nine also saw Colsaerts fall back to 7-under at the end of the round.

McIlroy, who finished alone in second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago, is playing in his second event of the season and showed little to no rust on Thursday. McIlroy started off with gains on his first two holes on 10 and 11. After six straight pars from 12, McIlroy made the turn with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

The Ulsterman birdied four more on his closing nine at three, five, six and eight, but a bogey on nine dropped him back to minus-6 and he trails by two shots along with six others.

“I’d be disappointed if I didn’t shoot anything below 68 today, especially with the conditions and 66 is a nice start,“ McIlroy said. “I’d like to see it blow a little bit and make it more of a challenging golf course, you still need to hit the shots but it would be nice to play in some conditions that are a little different than this.“

NOTES: In two events this season, Wiesberger has finished tied for sixth in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago and he also ended in third at last week’s Qatar Masters ... Gallacher has three career victories, with two coming at this event the last two seasons ... Dating back to last season, McIlroy has finished inside the top 10 in six straight events and 10 of his last 11, including a stretch of three straight victories at the British Open, WGC- Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship ... His win here in 2009 was McIlroy’s first professional victory ... Louis Oosthuizen withdrew with a back injury prior to starting the first round and he was replaced in the field by Jason Barnes.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-North, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Toronto at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - TSN, YES, DSS
Portland at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - CSN-Northwest, SportSouth, DSS
Houston at Boston, 7:30 PM - ROOT-Southwest, CSN-New England, DSS
Sacramento at Cleveland, 7:30 PM - CSN-California, FS-Ohio, DS
Dallas at Miami, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, SunSports, ESPN
LA Clippers at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, New Orleans, DSS
Golden State at Utah, 9:00 PM - CSN-Bay, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Chicago at Phoenix, 10:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Arizona, ESPN
National Hockey League
St. Louis at Carolina, 7:00 PM - FS-Midwest, SportSouth, DSS
Pittsburgh at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, MSG+, DSS
Nashville at Colorado, 9:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, Altitude, DSS
Chicago at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - WGN, FS-Prime Ticket, DSS
Buffalo at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, SNET-Pacific, NHL Network, DSS
College Basketball
Harvard at Princeton, 6:00 PM - ESPN U
Marist at Niagara, 7:00 PM -
Dartmouth at Penn, 7:00 PM -
Oregon at Arizona State, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Yale at Columbia, 8:00 )PM - MASN, American Sports Network, SNY
Monmouth at Fairfield, 8:00 PM - ESPN U
Oregon State at Arizona, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Kent State at Buffalo, 10:00 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Florida State at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - RSN, FOX,
Bradley at Illinois State, 8:00 PM -
Wichita State at Northern Iowa, 8:00 PM -
Missouri State at Drake, 8:00 PM -
Georgetown at DePaul, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago+
College Hockey
Army at RIT, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Cable
Massachusetts Lowell at Merrimack, 7:00 PM -
Michigan at Michigan State, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit
Connecticut at Maine, 7:30 PM - FCS
North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha, 8:30 PM - CBSSN
Minnesota at Wisconsin, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Minnesota-Duluth at Denver, 9:30 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
Major Arena Soccer League
Chicago at Missouri, 8:00 PM -
International Soccer
Paris Saint-Germain FC vs. Stade Rennais FC, 2:25 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - Dubai Desert Classic, 1:00 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - Dubai Desert Classic, 5:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Phoenix Open, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 3:30 AM - ESPN
Auto Racing
NASCAR Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremony, 8:00 PM - NBCSN

Area Closings and Delays on Friday, January 30, 2015

Status of Area Closings and Delays on Friday, January 30, 2015
Glenville State College  
Gilmer County Courthouse
Gilmer County Senior Center
Gilmer County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Braxton County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Calhoun County Schools All Closed
Doddridge County Schools2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Lewis County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Ritchie County Schools All Closed
Barbour County Schools All Closed
Clay County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Harrison County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Nicholas County Schools All Closed
Pleasants County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Roane County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Tyler County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Upshur County Schools All Closed
Webster County Schools All Closed
Wirt County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed
Wood County Schools 2 Hour Delay  >>To>> All Closed

The Gilmer Free Press      The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press      The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

Schedule Set for Sixth Annual West Virginia History Bowl Competition

The Gilmer Free Press

The dates are set for the sixth annual West Virginia History Bowl regional and state competitions. Sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, all eighth- grade history buffs are invited to showcase their knowledge of West Virginia and participate in the 2015 History Bowl.

Designed to test students’ knowledge on all things West Virginia including culture, geography, government, history, literature and sports, the eight regional matches are scheduled to take place from February 06 to March 07.

Eighth-graders in public, private and home-schooled education programs are eligible to compete on the four-person teams in double-elimination tournament play. The winner and runner-up teams are invited to the tournament championship at the Culture Center in Charleston on Tuesday, May 05.

Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith said, “This competition has grown exponentially with both students and teachers expressing their enjoyment and enthusiastic support. The students learn new and interesting facts about our state that they can apply to other fields of study.”

During the competition, students will answer questions compiled by the division’s Archives and History Section staff members. In preparation for competition, teams are encouraged to review the Daily Trivia, Quick Quizzes, and Golden Horseshoe study guides. These can be found on the Archives and History Section’s website,

The regional tournament dates and sites are as follows:

•  Friday, February 06, at West Virginia Independence Hall, Wheeling, Ohio County. Region VI includes schools in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, and Wetzel counties.

•  Saturday, February 07, at Sandy River Middle School, Avondale, McDowell County. Region I includes schools in McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties.

•  Friday, February 13, at The Culture Center, Charleston, Kanawha County. Region III includes schools in Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties.

•  Friday, February 20, at Summersville Middle School, Summersville, Nicholas County. Region IV includes schools in Braxton, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Webster counties.

•  Saturday, February 21, at Milton Middle School, Milton, Cabell County. Region II includes schools in Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo and Wayne counties.

•  Friday, February 27, at Romney Middle School, Romney, Hampshire County. Region VIII includes schools in Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton counties.

•  Saturday, February 28, at Edison Middle School, Parkersburg, Wood County. Region V includes schools in Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt and Wood counties.

•  Saturday, March 07, at Bridgeport Middle School, Bridgeport, Harrison County. Region VII includes schools in Barbour, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur counties.

•  Saturday, March 21, Play-In Tournament at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, Buckhannon, Upshur County. The Play-In Tournament is held to accommodate schools that are unable to compete in their regional round because of inclement weather and school closings.  It also is open to all schools throughout the state that want a second chance.

General information about the History Bowl can be found at or by contacting Matt McGrew, tournament director and education coordinator for archives and history, at or 304.558.0230.

Sports News   150128

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Tired of Patriots locker room attendants and ‘DeflateGate’? Blame the NFL.

The longer the so-called “DeflateGate” hullabaloo reigns as the dominant Super Bowl topic, the more blame the NFL deserves, and the more the league’s motivations should be questioned. The NFL, with a glacial investigation and dearth of public comment, has shown no signs it wants the story to burn out. And it may have allowed the uproar to live in the first place.

The storyline advanced late Monday afternoon, when FOX Sports’s Jay Glazer reported the NFL had “zeroed in” on a person of interest: a locker room attendant who allegedly carried footballs from the officials’ locker room — where the balls would have been checked — to another area on the way to the field. According to Glazer, the NFL has interviewed the “person of interest” and has video.

During its most important week of the year, the NFL has willingly enabled a phony “controversy” to fill the space that may otherwise be dedicated to actual controversies that engulf the league. Rather than concussion settlements, or the league’s response to domestic violence, or the viability of Roger Goodell’s commissionership, discussions have focused on the amount of air inside the Patriots’ footballs.

If the Patriots cheated, they of course should be punished. But the NFL has complicated the process beyond reason, and in doing so it allowed a farcical over-reaction to stand in for discussion pertaining to the game’s alarming sins. The league has allowed the Patriots to play the role of the villain, a convenient distraction from its own scandalous year.

The NFL could have made this simple. It had an entire week to send officials to New England and let them poke around, to interview players, coaches, equipment managers, ball boys and anyone else affiliated with the franchise. This isn’t a CSI-level case, or even the Ray Rice investigation. The NFL could have spoken with everyone it needed to right away.

Yet the first person the NFL’s investigators should have interviewed, quarterback Tom Brady, still hasn’t heard a word from the league. In an interview on ESPN, Brady said the NFL wouldn’t contact him until after the season. In a statement Friday, the NFL said investigators, led by Ted Wells, had interviewed 40 people. But if they’re not talking to Brady, what are they doing?

The lack of a conclusion has allowed a vacuum of new information to keep the story ablaze. The NFL may not have orchestrated “DeflateGate,” but in hindsight it couldn’t have wished for a better development. When the evening news leads with Ray Rice in September, it’s a black eye. When all three networks report on PSI in January, it’s publicity.

The Super Bowl was already a terrific matchup, and “DeflateGate” has added a Tonya-and-Nancy appeal. The media storm has made life miserable for the Patriots, but it’s only going to help inflate the Super Bowl’s already-monstrous ratings. And the league’s inaction has made sure it’s not going away as Super Bowl week begins.

The NFL may have badly mishandled the episode before it even began. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that when informed of alleged cheating by the Patriots, the NFL tried to catch them in the act rather than telling them to conform.

In its statement, the NFL said its investigation started “based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules.” But it didn’t clarify when it learned that information. Asked for clarification Monday afternoon, the league provided little.

“We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation on the issue of the footballs used in the AFC Championship,” Wells said in a statement sent by a league spokesman. “This work began last week, stretched through the weekend, and is proceeding expeditiously this week notwithstanding the Super Bowl. We are following customary investigative procedures and no one should draw any conclusions about the sequence of interviews or any other steps, all of which are part of the process of doing a thorough and fair investigation. I expect the investigation to take at least several more weeks. In the interim, it would be best if everyone involved or potentially involved in this matter avoids public comment concerning the matter until the investigation is concluded. The results will be shared publicly.”

Werder’s report leads to a dumbfounding possibility. If the NFL knew the Patriots operated with deflated footballs and waited until halftime to play “gotcha,” then the league willingly allowed – if not outright encouraged – the Patriots to gain a slim, illegal advantage for an entire half of the AFC Championship.

It would be a preposterous abdication of what should be any league’s first priority: guaranteeing a level playing field. The NFL could have ensured the Patriots used footballs with the proper amount of air pressure if it gone to them prior to the game. Look, people think you’re using an illegal ball. If it’s true, knock it off. In a situation that called for engagement, the league may have chosen entrapment.

We don’t know when, exactly, the NFL could have prevented the Patriots’ illegal use of under-inflated balls. But trying to catch them red-handed would be in line with the bizarre brand of paternalism with which Goodell has run the league. Over and over again, Goodell has cast himself as an enforcer when the league needs a leader. In circumstances that could be handled with common sense, Goodell searches for his gavel.

The NFL, perhaps, could have halted “DeflateGate” before it began. Once it started, it had ample opportunity to stem the tidal wave of attention. The NFL has kept the controversy alive by choice, because it knows it’s really no controversy at all.

►   Lynch shows, says little at Media Day

Marshawn Lynch became the star of Tuesday’s Super Bowl XLIX Media Day by saying barely anything at all.

The notoriously interview-averse Seattle Seahawks running back did speak for nearly five minutes during his mandated press conference, but offered the same simple response to 29 questions he was asked.

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined,“ Lynch repeatedly stated to a large assemblage of reporters.

Lynch did say something different at the end of his brief and awkward interaction. Four minutes and 51 seconds into the conference, the five-time Pro Bowl back picked up his phone and shouted “Time!“ before proceeding to walk away from the podium.

ESPN had reported that Lynch would have been subjected to a $500,000 fine from the NFL had he not attended Tuesday’s Media Day. The league previously fined him $100,000 back in November for repeated violations of its media policy, which included a refusal to speak with reporters following the Seahawks’ loss at Kansas City in Week 11.

Lynch did take part in Media Day prior to last year’s Super Bowl, also drawing considerable attention for some unusual antics.

He sat at his podium for several minutes before apparently vanishing, only to be seen moments later standing nearby wearing a hooded jacket and large black sunglasses.

Lynch later granted an interview to Hall of Fame cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, in which he replied to a complement Sanders gave him on his appearance with an expletive.

The eight-year veteran also is required to partake in media sessions that will be held at the Seahawks’ team hotel on Wednesday and Thursday.

►   Colts keeping Chudzinski on staff

Rob Chudzinski will remain with the Indianapolis Colts for at least one more season after the in-demand assistant and the team agreed to deal to make him its associate head coach.

Chudzinski, a former head coach in Cleveland who also had previous offensive coordinator stints with the Browns and Carolina Panthers, was considered a top candidate to fill offensive coordinator vacancies in San Francisco and St. Louis.

The 46-year-old spent last season as a special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after being fired by the Browns after just one season leading the team.

Chudzinski’s one-year contract with Indianapolis had expired on Monday.

“We’re excited to keep Chud in our family,“ Pagano said. “He’s been a critical part of our operation and we’re looking forward to sharing even more success in the future.“

The Browns finished just 4-12 in Chudzinski’s lone year as head coach, leading to his sudden dismissal at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Road to Super Bowl XLIX: Different look, same results for Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks didn’t waiver in putting a quest for a return trip to the Super Bowl in the hands of their returning core.

Winning the Super Bowl—which Seattle did last year with a rout of the Denver Broncos—is no easy task in the NFL and returning to the title game the next season is even more difficult.

Needless to say, claiming victory in consecutive Super Bowls in near impossible—though it has been done, with the 2003-04 New England Patriots the most recent club to do so 10 years ago with wins in Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX.

Fitting, then, that the Patriots stand in the way of the Seahawks claiming a second straight championship.

“Well, there’s 31 other teams - that’s why it’s hard,“ said quarterback Russell Wilson. “You have some great teams out there, obviously, and great players. We’ve found ways to just feed off one another and make plays when we needed to and be clutch, but also be consistent in our approach and the way we practice and the way we play games.“

Seattle returns to glory without having made a notable addition to its roster in the offseason while allowing more than a few useful cogs to take their talents elsewhere.

The Seahawks’ now-iconic defense saw the departure of cornerback Brandon Browner—to the Patriots nonetheless—and 15-game defensive end starter Red Bryant as well as another end in Chris Clemons and reserve corner Walter Thurmond.

And for a team not known for lighting it up through the air, the Seahawks allowed wide receiver Golden Tate to join the Detroit Lions via free agency and weren’t done tinkering in-season either, trading the talented by often distraction-causing Percy Harvin to the New York Jets.

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll noted the use of long vision when addressing the roster, though that doesn’t make it any easier.

“You have to go through that process and make the choices,“ he said. “We lost some really good players from last year’s team and we knew that we were losing some heart and soul guys. But, they were the decisions that we had to make to make the choices to move ahead and also to continue to reward the guys.“

Carroll also admitted that trading Harvin wasn’t the most popular move among the club and locker room, but it was one the Seahawks had to make.

“We just thought it was better for our team to move on where we had come from in a sense,“ said Carroll. “We went back to more of the format that had gotten us here and it just seemed like the right idea and the right thought. ... There was a big impact of that, but we had to endure that and since we’ve come out of it we’ve found what we were looking for really in that decision.“

Seattle was 3-2 in five games with Harvin in the lineup and lost 28-26 to the St. Louis Rams in its first game following the trade.

But Carroll showed he knew what he was doing despite the loss, with Wilson passing for 313 yards and wide receiver Doug Baldwin stepping up with seven receptions for 123 yards.

And when all was said and done, the Seahawks found themselves right where they were last season: owners of the league’s top defense, rush attack and once again champions of the NFC West.

Seattle may have caused a bit of a scare with its 3-3 start in what figured to be a tight division race, but finished strong with a victory in nine of its final 10. That included an impressive six-game win streak to end the regular season that featured two victories each over rival San Francisco and Arizona to lock up the NFC West crown.

Retaking the identity they were in danger of losing, the Seahawks saw their defense step up over their final six regular-season games. Over that span, the club allowed just 6.5 points and 202 yards per game while collecting 24 sacks.

Oh, and the ‘Hawks outscored their opponent 134-39 over the win streak.

“I think early on we got to the point where we were trying to be too perfect,“ offered linebacker Bobby Wagner. “We had to go back to realizing that it’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun and enjoying that time you have with your brothers. Once we got back to that, we really got going.“

Seattle is the 12th team to return to the Super Bowl after winning the title the previous season, but, in further proof it is no easy task, had to pull off an epic comeback in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers.

Trailing 16-0 midway through the third quarter and then down 19-7 with only 2:13 remaining, Seattle scored 15 points in 44 seconds to go ahead, though the Packers would force overtime with a 48-yard field goal with 14 seconds to go.

That is when Wilson finally shook off his four-interception performance by coming up big when it mattered, hitting wideout Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown with 11:41 remaining in OT and perhaps creating some momentum that will favor the Seahawks.

“If you remember a year ago, we had a fairly rousing game against the San Francisco 49ers to finish off last year and everything worked out just fine,“ said Carroll. “We have a way of dealing with the ups and downs and a way that we approach it that I’m hopeful we’ve put it into place already where it should be.“

That punched Seattle’s ticket to Arizona, where it has already won once this season.

And though some have dismissed having an advantage due to regular playing time at University of Phoenix Stadium versus the rival Cardinals, others noted it can’t hurt either.

“It does feel familiar to us and our players have commented about that as well—that we feel comfortable coming here,“ said Carroll.

Ultimately, location matters little as it comes down to planning and execution.

Oh, and a little chip doesn’t hurt either.

“I think guys are motivated,“ declared Kearse. “The last time a team won back to back Super Bowls was with the Patriots. I think a lot of guys have a lot of motivation for that. We’re just going to come out here and try to compete. That’s the ultimate goal right there is just compete and make plays when your opportunity shows.“  ~~  Michael Rushton ~~

►   Seahawks sustaining success with Carroll

You can’t spell compete without Pete.

Pete Carroll has a competitive edge, one that many wondered would translate successfully to the NFL from the college ranks.

When Carroll, who failed in previous NFL coaching attempts, couldn’t pass up another opportunity to lay a cohesive foundation at the professional level, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t know what to expect from this rah-rah coach.

The enthusiastic and energetic Carroll never passes up a challenge and is at the doorstep of winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

It’s a rare feat to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years, let alone once, and Carroll has achieved that distinction. How does Carroll do it? How can he make millionaires play together as one and buy into his philosophy? Carroll is known for his laid-back persona and allowing his players to be themselves.

But what is it that makes Carroll’s players trust in the plan?

That question was answered after a 24-20 loss at Kansas City on November 16 left the Seahawks with doubts on defending their title. A defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter dropped the Seahawks to 6-4 on the season and something had to be done, or said. Carroll did both. He rounded up the team leaders for a private discussion, and what followed has Seattle in the biggest game.

There were 12 players in that meeting and Carroll wanted them to express his message to the rest of the team.

“I told them I will do our best to keep us on topic, but you guys are going to have to embed the thoughts that are going to give us a chance to adjust at this point and they did a remarkable job,“ Carroll said. “There’s no doubt that our team has changed and we’ve grown.“

Seattle never lost after the jaw session, winning eight games in a row, and recaptured what it understood earlier. Sometimes people go off track and need a little guidance or reassurance to believe again. Carroll said the team lost contact with how important it is to sacrifice for each other and how crucial it is to support the players on the team.

“It’s the essence of playing with the team. That it’s not about you, it’s about the people around you and you give yourself to them,“ Carroll continued. “That’s really what has taken place.“

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin said the meeting made a huge impact and thought it was crucial for the development of the team to be reminded of what led them to victory the year before.

“It was very important for us to get things off our chest. Guys in that room ... we clash at times, but I think being able to get everything off the table, it brought us closer,“ Baldwin explained. “Being able to spread that out throughout the team it brought the whole team closer.“

Carroll was faced with a difficult decision involving wide receiver Percy Harvin. Apparently Harvin wasn’t dedicated to Carroll’s team-first ideology and was introduced to the exit door. The Seahawks never missed a beat when Harvin was ditched and are in their current state because they believed in Carroll’s system.

“As it turned out, we just thought it was better for our team to move on where we had come from in a sense. We went back to more of the format that had gotten us here and it just seemed like the right idea and the right thought. It was a very difficult choice,“ Carroll said of cutting ties with Harvin.

Carroll has a melting pot of players he must keep tempered, including running back Marshawn Lynch and his obligatory antics and cornerback Richard Sherman with his confidence and no fear of tongue usage. It’s a chess match for Carroll and right now he’s the king.

The Seahawks are trying to become kings of the NFL in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the New England Patriots accomplished the rare feat in 2003-04. Carroll, of course, coached the Patriots from 1997-1999 (27-21) and was replaced by Bill Belichick, whose been under heavy scrutiny over the last few weeks regarding air pressure in footballs. The Seahawks should be happy, and maybe even relieved, all the attention has been on “Deflategate” leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

Seattle is still going about its business as usual. Carroll was asked if he plans on changing any aspect of the Super Bowl week routine from last season.

“No. Really, we have our way that we do things and for us, it’s the discipline of staying the same is what the challenge is ... it’s to not change,“ Carroll said. “What we’ve done in the past in leading up to this game has gotten us here, so we’re not going to adjust now.“

Who could blame him, right? The Seahawks have sustained tremendous success the past two seasons, and with so much parity in the NFL, it’s amazing. Having arguably the best defense, a quarterback who stares adversity in the eye and a coach who doesn’t need a choke chain for his players helps.

Carroll can deliver a tremendous jab to the New England organization for giving up on him with a win Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona. Who wouldn’t want to stick it to a former boss (or even a current one)? They say the best revenge is good health and happiness. So far Carroll has both.

He also has a locker room full of men who will put their heart, mind and body at risk for the betterment of the team. That’s what gauges sustained success.

Murmurs of the Seahawks becoming a dynasty will come to a roar if they can send the Patriots to a third consecutive loss in Super Bowl appearances. New England has already established itself as a dynamic organization and Seattle wants to be the next model teams emulate.

The personnel is in place, so the next task is to go out and win.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for the club to be able to get a chance to go back to the Super Bowl,“ Carroll said. “It’s extraordinarily fun for us and I hope for everybody else, too. We’re going to do everything we can to go get it done.“    ~~  Shawn Clarke ~~

►   From afterthought to legend

Sometimes regal lineage isn’t so easy to prognosticate.

With the 24th pick of Round 2 of the 1998 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots chose Rod Rutledge, a 6-foot-5, 262-pound tight end from Alabama - making him the fourth selection in a three-round haul breathlessly labeled by the New York Times as “great,“ “pretty impressive” and a talent “stockpile.“

“The Patriots had the best draft of any team this year, according to five general managers,“ read an April 20 draft recap penned by Times sportswriter Mike Freeman, under a headline that suggested the team had drafted “superbly.“

“One general manager said that the Patriots’ draft may have been the best in the last three or four years.“

Needless to say, Freeman’s next-day assessment of Rutledge and fellow early- rounders Robert Edwards, Tebucky Jones, Tony Simmons, Chris Floyd and Greg Spires inspires little beyond an ironic chuckle these days, as a then-moribund franchise preps for its sixth subsequent Super Bowl participation.

Only Jones, a lanky defensive back, started more than two seasons’ worth of games for the Patriots.

And only he and the 6-foot-1 Spires, an undersized pass-rushing defensive end, managed a career whose duration exceeded the six-man group’s collective averages of five-plus seasons and 38 games started.

Spires, though, made just three of those starts with New England before finding a niche in Tampa Bay, where he started 87 games across six years and won a Super Bowl ring under Jon Gruden.

At any rate, though, when kickoff comes on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz., it’s the long-since anonymous Rutledge who’ll have the most direct link to this year’s dynastic personnel.

Though he’s not appeared in an NFL game since 2002 and not caught a pass since 2001, the now 39-year-old was on the receiving end of the first completion thrown by the now-veteran quarterback who’ll arguably enter University of Phoenix Stadium within 60 minutes of billing as the game’s all-time best.

These days, everyone knows that quarterback as Tom Brady.

The guy ex-NFL’er Heath Evans places atop the historic list, regardless of this weekend’s score.

“You look at the collection of talent that was consistently around Joe (Montana) - and this is no knock on Joe, it’s just the era he played in,“ Evans said. “And then now, the constant mixing and matching. Tommy’s done it with a defense and without a defense. He’s done it with a running game and without running games. He’s done it without Pro Bowl wide receivers and with Pro Bowl wide receivers.“

Whether he is or isn’t better than Montana is undoubtedly a hot sports radio topic now. But back then, in the midst of mop-up duty that wrapped up New England’s 34-9 Thanksgiving Day 2000 loss at Detroit, he was just another late-round wannabe (Round 6, 199th overall) trying to impress a coach (Bill Belichick) whose first season on the job was careening toward a 5-11 disappointment.

Belichick’s starter that day, Drew Bledsoe, completed 17 throws for 148 yards before an errant toss to Bryant Westbrook with less than five minutes left yielded a 101-yard pick-6 for the Lions’ cornerback - and a late-game opening for the Michigan rookie, who, at the time, nobody mistook for a king.

In reality, Brady hadn’t so much as taken a snap through the season’s initial 11 games while sitting behind the likes of Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop, and to say his arrival in Week 13 was instantly interpreted as a sign of Belichick’s genius would be an overstatement of mythical proportions.

Not even Brady - whose Canton inclusion is now certain - was convinced his ascension was imminent.

“I wasn’t prepared to play my first year. That’s all that would have happened, I would’ve gone out and get beat and lost a ton of confidence in what I was doing,“ he said. “I was lucky to really have a chance that whole first year to be in a situation where I wasn’t forced to play and lose a bunch of confidence.“

While the six-yard toss to Rutledge - Brady’s lone completion in three tries - got him on the official stat sheet for posterity, it was only worthy of a space-filler mention in Nick Cafardo’s Friday morning post-mortem in the Boston Globe, and a one-line inclusion in the Patriots notebook piece the same day.

“Then came the Westbrook interception, on a pass intended for Glenn,“ Cafardo wrote. “Bledsoe gallantly fought to make the tackle but had no chance to catch Westbrook, who danced into the end zone. Bledsoe got a handshake from Bill Belichick and was told Tom Brady was taking over.“

Brady wound up making no more appearances for the duration of the 2000 season, and his lingering presence on the roster the following fall—with former No. 1 overall pick Bledsoe still firmly entrenched as starter - generated literally no mention when it came time for James Alder, an occasional blog Times blog contributor and football consultant for BBC Radio, to issue his 2001 season forecast.

Instead, when it came to the AFC East, Alder and others dismissed the whole team entirely.

“(The East) will be a three-team race this season, and one of those teams will not be the New England Patriots,“ he wrote in an August 10 preseason preview. “They still have Drew Bledsoe running the offense, but this team has a shortage of impact players on offense and defense. If they manage to put together a decent running game, they may win as many as six games this year.“

Needless to say, by the time Alder prepped the next year’s follow-up, the horizon had changed.

The frequently-recited version of the Brady legend began in Week 2 of 2001, when Bledsoe was splattered along the sidelines by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis.

The Patriots wound up losing to Vinny Testaverde’s Jets and fell to 0-2 as Brady went 5-for-10 for a pedestrian 46 yards, but 11 wins in 14 regular- season starts followed—as did a Super Bowl win against St. Louis that made Rutledge a trivia footnote, Bledsoe an offseason castoff and Brady a superstar.

“It’s fun to watch him. He’s poetry in motion,“ Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “Obviously a Hall of Famer and the best of all time.“  ~~  Lyle Fitzsimmons ~~

►   Extra Points: Kraft flexes his muscle

Perception is a big problem for the NFL.

Or to be more accurate, the fact that important people in the league don’t understand the simple concept that perception is often greater than reality for the casual audience they crave is troubling.

How else can you explain the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, getting caught stumbling out of Jerry Jones’ “party bus” or Mr. Credibility himself, commissioner Roger Goodell, feeling it’s OK to have dinner with his BFF, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the day before the AFC Championship Game?

Conspiracy theorists only need one innocent slip-up to build their narrative around, which is why public figures in positions that demand trust are always told to avoid the appearance of impropriety at all costs.

Incompetence didn’t equal conspiracy in North Texas earlier this month when referee Pete Morelli picked up the flag on what should have been a pass interference penalty against the Dallas Cowboys in their wild-card round win against the Detroit Lions, but the 9/11-truthers had the Blandino picture to bolster their spin.

The fact that the same guy was instrumental in overturning Dez Bryant’s awe- inspiring catch a week later in Green Bay due to a bad rule that could have been easily ignored is just a pesky footnote in a short-attention-span- culture.

Kraft was breaking bread with the commish before the NFL unleashed a sting operation, likely fueled by the green eye of John Harbaugh, to try to find out if the Patriots were indeed deflating football purposefully to give Tom Brady some kind of perceived edge.

“Will they be punished? Probably not,“ Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman said when asked about the issue. “Not as long as Robert Kraft and Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes. I think he was just at Kraft’s house last week for the AFC Championship. Talk about conflict of interest. You know, as long as that happens, it won’t affect them at all. Nothing will.“

Common sense says if Goodell was so intent of protecting his buddy, he might have tipped him off between courses so the evil Kraft could have alerted his “rogue” equipment people to stop messing with Tom Terrific’s balls (you can insert “Family Guy”-like joke here).

Instead Goodell shut his mouth, polished off his sorbet and caught the Patriots in the act with 11 of 12 deflated footballs, which more than likely meant next to nothing in their 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.

The perception, though, is dwarfing that common sense.

“I think the perception is the reality,“ Sherman said. “It is what it is. Their resume speaks for itself. You talk about getting close to the line ... I don’t really have a comment about that, but their past is what their past is, their present is what their present is.

“It’s the world we live in. It’s the league we play in.“

Ensuing Bill Belichick and Tom Brady press conferences, which attempted to explain the deflated footballs, have already launched 1,000 different comedy careers and made Science Guy Bill Nye and Mona Lisa Vito from “My Cousin Vinny” relevant in the world of professional football.

Kraft, meanwhile, seems upset that his favorite employee didn’t tip him off, even asking for an apology when the Patriots are cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing wrong,“ Kraft said before adding that if the NFL-backed investigation into the scandal finds nothing wrong, “I would hope the NFL would apologize.“

“If the (Ted} Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and in particular Coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week,“ he said.

A prepared statement, of course, prohibited any follow-up questions regarding the FOXSports report that the league has identified a locker-room attendant as a “person of interest” in Deflategate or as many others like to call him, the sacrifice at the altar of Belichick and Brady.

Whatever the outcome or the truth for that matter, though, it’s never going to be good enough for a portion of the public following this nonsense.

And it’s a systemic problem.

By any measure that doesn’t rely on EBITDA, Goodell has had a disastrous year as NFL commissioner. But, even if he made no missteps regarding Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson or everything else that has crossed his desk, ultimately he’s beholden to the people who employ him—the owners.

And the last time I looked, the puppet is never the one pulling the stings.

“I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled,“ a defiant Kraft ominously said. “We expect hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.“


Know your role, friend.    ~~  John McMullen ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 27)

Webster County 73     Calhoun County 57

Lewis County 82     East Fairmont 62

Ritchie County 58     Parkersburg Catholic 33

Doddridge County 60     Braxton County 53

#2 Bridgeport 66     Elkins 53

#5 Robert C. Byrd 59     #6 Lincoln 52

St. Marys 55     Tyler Consolidated 23

Ravenswood 82     Wirt County 52

Philip Barbour 71     Buckhannon-Upshur 51

#9 Preston 79     Liberty 41

Wood County Christian 50     OVC, Ohio 41

Sissonville 71     Nicholas County 51

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 27)

#1 Morgantown 47     #2 Parkersburg South 34

#4 Williamstown 87     Tyler Consolidated 44

Sissonville 58     Nicholas County 44

Wood County Christian 64     OVC, Ohio 32

►   Girls Basketball AP Poll

Class A

Team Record Pts Prv

1. Wheeling Central (4) 12-2 94 2

2. Saint Joseph Central (5) 7-4 93 1

3. Tucker County (1) 11-2 83 4

4. Williamstown 11-3 68 3

5. Pocahontas County 10-5 52 5

6. Clay-Battelle 12-4 44 7

7. Charleston Catholic 5-9 31 6

8. Notre Dame 8-4 25 9(tie)

9. Gilmer County 9-5 20 8

10. Madonna 9-4 18 NR

Others receiving votes: Fayetteville 10, Meadow Bridge 6, Trinity 4, Magnolia 2.

Class AA

Team Record Pts Prv

1. Wyoming East (9) 13-0 99 1

2. North Marion 12-1 86 2

3. Fairmont Senior (1) 13-2 76 3

4. Sissonville 12-2 63 6

5. Summers County 11-2 57 4

6. Keyser 13-1 53 5

7. Clay County 13-2 40 7

8. Ravenswood 14-1 31 10

9. PikeView 9-3 20 8

10. Bridgeport 11-4 18 9

Others receiving votes: Bluefield 5, Herbert Hoover 1, Lincoln 1.

Class AAA

Team Record Pts Prv

1. Morgantown (8) 13-0 98 1

2. Parkersburg South (2) 14-2 92 2

3. South Charleston 13-1 74 3

4. Huntington 11-1 71 5

5. Logan 10-3 61 4

6. St. Albans 10-4 40 9

7. Hurricane 10-2 38 7

8. Greenbrier East 13-2 32 8

9. Spring Valley 9-4 21 6

10. Buckhannon-Upshur 10-3 9 NR

Others receiving votes: Wheeling Park 7, Parkersburg 4, Cabell Midland 1, George Washington 1, Jefferson 1.

►   Big Atlantic Classic

Monday’s Games

Game 1 — Greater Beckley Christian 82, Moorefield 51 (boys A)

Game 2 — Gilmer County 71, Sherman 59 (boys A)

Tuesday’s Games

Game 3 — Westside 81, Wyoming East 67 (boys AA)

Game 4 — Scott 70, Liberty Raleigh 46 (boys AA)

Today’s Games

Game 5 — Sherman vs. Moorefield (boys A consolation), 3:45 PM

Game 6 — Wyoming East vs. Liberty Raleigh (boys AA consolation), 5:30 PM

Game 7 — Oak Hill Academy (Va.) vs. Blue Ridge (boys national), 7:20 PM

Game 8 — Morgantown vs. Huntington (girls), 9 PM

Thursday’s Games

Game 9 — Brooke vs. George Washington (girls), 4 PM

Game 10 — Wyoming East vs. St. Albans (girls), 5:45 PM

Game 11 — Greater Beckley Christian vs. Gilmer County (boys A championship), 7:25 PM

Game 12 — Greenbrier East vs. Oak Hill (girls), 9 PM

Friday’s Games

Game 13 — Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 loser (girls co-consolation), 2 PM

Game 14 — Parkersburg South vs. Princeton (boys AAA), 4 PM

Game 15 — Shady Spring vs. Martinsburg (boys AAA), 5:40 PM

Game 16 — Greenbrier East vs. Hampshire (boys AAA), 7:20 PM

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson vs. Washington (boys AAA), 9 PM

Saturday’s Games

Game 18 — Game 8 vs. Game 12 loser (girls co-consolation), 9 AM

Game 19 — Game 14 loser vs. Game 15 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 10:40 AM

Game 20 — Game 16 loser vs. Game 17 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 12:20 PM

Game 21 — Westside vs. Scott (boys AA championship), 2 PM

Game 22 — Game 8 winner vs. Game 12 winner (girls co-championship), 4 PM

Game 23 — Game 14 winner vs. Game 15 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 5:40 PM

Game 24 — Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner (girls co-championship), 7:20 PM

Game 25 — Game 16 winner vs. Game 17 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 9 PM

The Gilmer Free Press

►   West Virginia beats K-State in Manhattan

Tarik Phillip’s scored 12 points off a productive West Virginia bench and the 17th-ranked Mountaineers pulled out a 65-59 victory over the surging Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday.

It was not pretty for most of the night, but the Mountaineers (17-3, 5-2 Big 12) did just enough to overcome 20 turnovers and a 36 percent shooting effort.

Their bench was the difference, as Jevon Carter complemented Phillips with nine points to help outscore Kansas State’s reserves by a 35-13 margin.

Juwan Staten led West Virginia’s starters with 11 points.

The Wildcats (12-9, 5-3) had won five of six coming in and were looking for a signature victory to add to their resume, but they committed 25 turnovers, made just 37 percent of their shots and missed 15 free throws.

“We said we were going to turn it over, but we did not need 25 of them,“ K- State head coach Bruce Weber said. “They make you fight for it.“

Marcus Foster scored 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting, while Wesley Iwundu added 12 points in a losing cause.

Points were tough to come by in a first half that saw a both teams shoot under 30 percent from the field and combine for 27 turnovers.

Nigel Johnson’s layup off a steal pulled Kansas State within 26-24 heading into halftime, and the Wildcats scored the first six points of the second half to jump in front.

Devin Williams muscled his way inside for two to end a nearly seven-minute scoreless stretch for West Virginia, and it went back-and-forth for the next few possessions before the Mountaineers went ahead for good with a 9-1 run.

Phillip’s three-point play capped the spurt to put the visitors in front, 49-41, with 9 1/2 minutes to go, and it was essentially a free throw contest over the final two minutes.

Though they went just 10-for-15 from the line, it was enough for the Mountaineers to escape with a win.

“This was a well-deserved win,“ said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “I told our guys I was really proud of their effort. We really did play hard.“

Game Notes

Nino Williams, Kansas State’s second leading scorer, suffered a leg injury early in the first half and did not return ... Kansas State had won six straight home games against ranked opponents ... West Virginia is 10-1 away from Morgantown ... There were nine lead changes and seven ties.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Oklahoma State takes out No. 20 Baylor

Phil Forte scored 16 points and Oklahoma State upended 20th-ranked Baylor, 64-53, on Tuesday night.

Le’Bryan Nash had 13 points, Tavarius Shine netted 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range and Anthony Hickey dished out a career-high 10 assists in the win.

The Cowboys (14-6, 4-4 Big 12) have won seven straight conference home games dating back to last season.

Lester Medford led the Bears (15-5, 3-4) with 13 points and Rico Gathers chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Al Freeman knocked down a jumper with over seven minutes left in the first half to give the Bears a 17-14 lead. Forte followed with a 3-pointer that started a string of nine straight points for the Cowboys.

Medford’s basket was Baylor’s first field goal in over six minutes late in the half, then Shine made a 3-pointer to put Oklahoma State up 30-21 at the break.

Shine kept up his hot shooting stroke from beyond the arc midway through the second half, hitting a pair of treys around a Hickey jumper to increase the Cowboys’ margin to 45-33.

It was then Forte who nailed a momentous shot from deep later in the half. With just over four minutes left, Forte took a feed from Hickey and buried a trey to push Oklahoma State’s lead to 54-44. Taurean Prince answered with a triple of his own at the other end, but Hickey found Nash for a layup at 2:45 to keep the hosts firmly in front.

Forte dealt a crushing blow that essentially sealed it when he weaved in and out of the Baylor defense, running the 35-second shot clock down before getting fouled and making two free throws for a 60-51 lead with under a minute left.

Game Notes

Oklahoma State improved to 57-3 over the last seven seasons under coach Travis Ford when holding opponents under 60 points ... Baylor had its two-game winning streak snapped ... Prince had 12 points off the Bears’ bench ... Michael Cobbins pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds and also contributed five blocks on the defensive end ... Gathers had four blocks in the loss.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Poll Results – January 26

Associated Press Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Virginia
3. Gonzaga
4. Duke
5. Wisconsin
6. Arizona
7. Villanova
8. Notre Dame
9. Kansas
10. Louisville
11. Utah
12. Wichita State
13. North Carolina
14. VCU
15. Iowa State
16. Maryland
17. West Virginia
18. Northern Iowa
19. Texas
20. Baylor
21. Georgetown
22. Indiana
23. Miami (Florida)
24. Oklahoma
25. Butler

Coaches Poll
1. Kentucky
2. Virginia
3. Gonzaga
4. Duke
5. Wisconsin
6. Arizona
7. Villanova
8. Notre Dame
9. Louisville
10. Utah
11. Kansas
12. Wichita State
13. Maryland
14. North Carolina
15. VCU
16. Iowa State
17. West Virginia
18. Northern Iowa
19. Baylor
20. Texas
21. Indiana
22. Georgetown
23. Miami (Florida)
24. Colorado State
25. Arkansas

Top 25 (and one)
1 Kentucky
2 Virginia
3 Gonzaga
4 Duke
5 Wisconsin
6 Villanova
7 Kansas
8 Arizona
9 Utah
10 Notre Dame
11 North Carolina
12 Louisville
13 Maryland
14 Wichita State
15 VCU
16 Iowa State
17 West Virginia
18 Texas
19 Baylor
20 Georgetown
21 Indiana
22 Northern Iowa
23 Oklahoma
24 Georgia
25 Butler
26 Miami (Florida)

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 27)

Final Score: (14) VCU 72, George Washington 48

Terry Larrier scored 15 points to lead 14th-ranked VCU in its 12th consecutive win, a 72-48 throttling of George Washington in a key Atlantic 10 clash. This matchup between two of the conference’s top three teams was no contest after the Rams held the Colonials to a woeful 5-of-26 shooting performance in the second half and embarked on a 20-5 run during the period. George Washington finished just 26.9 percent from the field overall. JeQuan Lewis added 13 points and three steals for VCU (17-3, 7-0 A-10), which hasn’t lost since a 74-57 home setback to still-unbeaten Virginia on Dec. 6. Mo Alie-Cox contributed 10 points and eight rebounds to the rout.

Final Score: (17) West Virginia 65, Kansas State 59

Tarik Phillip’s scored 12 points off a productive West Virginia bench and the 17th-ranked Mountaineers pulled out a 65-59 victory over the surging Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday. It was not pretty for most of the night, but the Mountaineers (17-3, 5-2 Big 12) did just enough to overcome 20 turnovers and a 36 percent shooting effort. Their bench was the difference, as Jevon Carter complemented Phillips with nine points to help outscore Kansas State’s reserves by a 35-13 margin. Juwan Staten led West Virginia’s starters with 11 points. The Wildcats (12-9, 5-3) had won five of six coming in and were looking for a signature victory to add to their resume, but they committed 25 turnovers, made just 37 percent of their shots and missed 15 free throws.

Final Score: Oklahoma State 64, (20) Baylor 53

Phil Forte scored 16 points and Oklahoma State upended 20th-ranked Baylor, 64-53, on Tuesday night. Le’Bryan Nash had 13 points, Tavarius Shine netted 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3- point range and Anthony Hickey dished out a career-high 10 assists in the win. The Cowboys (14-6, 4-4 Big 12) have won seven straight conference home games dating back to last season. Lester Medford led the Bears (15-5, 3-4) with 13 points and Rico Gathers chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Final Score: Xavier 66, (21) Georgetown 53

Myles Davis continued his strong play with 19 points and Xavier went into Verizon Center and stunned No. 21 Georgetown 66-53 on Tuesday. Davis shot 6-of-9 from the floor, finishing in double figures for the fifth straight game, and Matt Stainbrook scored 12 for Xavier (14-7, 5-4 Big East), which had lost its last five road games, including four straight to open conference play. Georgetown (14-6, 6-3) was coming off four straight wins and six of seven since losing to Xavier in the conference opener for both teams on Dec. 31. D’Vauntes Smith- Rivera paced the Hoyas with 13 points in the unlikely setback.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, January 27)

Final Score: Toronto 104, Indiana 91

DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points and Kyle Lowry had a solid performance in the Toronto Raptors’ 104-91 win over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. Lowry finished with 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Toronto, which has won three straight. Rodney Stuckey checked in with 22 points for Indiana, while Solomon Hill went for 15 points and George Hill added 13 in the setback. Indiana has lost eight of its last nine games.

Final Score: Cleveland 103, Detroit 95

Kyrie Irving had 38 points and six assists, LeBron James added 32 points, seven assists and six rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons 103-95 on Tuesday night. James and Irving were the only double-digit scorers for Cleveland, which has won seven straight games on the heels of a six-game slide. Tristan Thompson pulled down 12 boards off the bench in the triumph. Greg Monroe posted 17 points and 12 rebounds, while D.J. Augustin provided 19 points and nine helpers for the Pistons, who have dropped three consecutive contests. Andre Drummond tallied 12 points and 17 boards.

Final Score: Milwaukee 109, Miami 102

Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton both scored 17 points to lead seven Bucks in double figures as Milwaukee beat the short- handed Miami Heat 109-102 on Tuesday. Jerryd Bayless contributed 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for Milwaukee, which won its third straight meeting with the Heat. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was named to the dunk contest prior to the game, finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, and O.J. Mayo gave 14 points off the bench. Milwaukee’s reserves outscored Miami’s, 54-13. All five Miami starters had at least 12 points, with Chris Bosh’s 26 leading the way in the loss. Mario Chalmers had 21 points and eight assists and Hassan Whiteside followed up his first career triple- double with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Dwyane Wade scored 12 points before exiting in the third quarter with a right hamstring strain. Luol Deng (calf) did not dress.

Final Score: Memphis 109, Dallas 90

The Memphis Grizzlies are back to being their dominant selves ever since Zach Randolph returned to the lineup. Randolph had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Grizzlies routed the Dallas Mavericks 109-90 on Tuesday night. Marc Gasol posted 15 points and six assists, while Courtney Lee and Nick Calathes netted 13 points apiece for Memphis, which has won four straight and eight of its last nine games since Randolph returned from a sore knee. The Grizzlies endured a 4-7 stretch from Dec. 19- Jan. 9 when Randolph was held out of nine games. Memphis was 21-4 prior to that. Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons each put in 19 points for the Mavericks, who have dropped a season-high three consecutive contests.

Final Score: Chicago 113, Golden State 111 (OT)

Call the Chicago Bulls the road warriors of the NBA. Derrick Rose hit a go-ahead jumper with seven seconds left in overtime and the Chicago Bulls snapped the Golden State Warriors’ 19-game home winning streak following a 113-111 triumph on Tuesday night. Rose nailed a tough, contested step-back from the right wing over the outstretched arm of Klay Thompson for a two-point Chicago edge. Thompson then missed a runner from inside the left elbow at the other end. The Bulls have 17 road wins this season, tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the most road victories in the NBA. Rose finished with 30 points, but was just 13-of-33 from the floor and turned the ball over a career-high 11 times to go with a single assist. Pau Gasol posted 18 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, while Joakim Noah added 18 points, 15 boards and six helpers for the Bulls, who have won three of their last four games on the heels of a 2-6 stretch. Klay Thompson tallied 30 points and 10 rebounds, David Lee supplied 24 points, nine boards and six assists and Steph Curry provided 21 points and nine helpers for Golden State, which fell to 21-2 at home this season. It was 14-0 against the Eastern Conference coming in. The Warriors were 0-of-13 from beyond the arc after the break. They were 9-of-20 from long distance in the first half.

Final Score: Washington 98, LA Lakers 92

John Wall deposited 21 points with 13 assists and nine rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 98-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Bradley Beal tallied 19 points and Otto Porter added 12 for the Wizards, who have won two straight after a two- game skid. Los Angeles is mired in a nine-game losing streak, the first such skid since a 10-game run in April 1994. Wayne Ellington poured in 20 of his career-high 28 points in the first half for the Lakers. Rookie Jordan Clarkson had a career-best 18 points in the loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Dyson, Royals avoid arbitration

The Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration with outfielder Jarrod Dyson Tuesday by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract.

The deal is worth $1.225 million, according to the Kansas City Star. Dyson asked for $1.6 million while the team countered with $900,000.

Dyson hit .269 with one homer, 24 RBI and a career-high 36 stolen bases over 120 games in 2014.

The Royals have six remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players: closer Greg Holland, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, pitcher Danny Duffy and reliever Kelvin Herrera.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, January 27)

Final Score: NY Islanders 4, NY Rangers 1

Jaroslav Halak stoned the New York Rangers once again as the New York Islanders maintained their recent mastery of their crosstown rivals with a 4-1 victory at Nassau Coliseum. Two weeks after shutting out the Rangers in Madison Square Garden, Halak came within 8.1 seconds of another to lead the Islanders to their third win over the Blueshirts in as many meetings this season. The Islanders have outscored the Rangers 13-4 in those matchups. Mikhail Grabovski returned from a five-game absence to record the first of the Islanders’ goals, with Matt Martin, Ryan Strome and John Tavares also scoring in the Metropolitan Division leaders’ sixth win in seven games. Carl Hagelin spoiled Halak’s shutout bid with a power-play tally and Henrik Lundqvist came up with 34 saves in the loss, which halted the Rangers’ three-game win streak prior to the All-Star break.

Final Score: Philadelphia 4, Arizona 3 (SO)

Wayne Simmonds scored a first-period power-play goal and added the winner in the shootout as Philadelphia returned from the All-Star break to record a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Tuesday. R.J. Umberger and Michael Del Zotto also tallied for the Flyers, who have won two in a row and three of four. Steve Mason stopped 22-of-23 shots in regulation and all three in the game’s final segment to earn the win. Starter Ray Emery allowed two goals on four shots in less than six minutes of action. Connor Murphy, Martin Erat and Tobias Rieder scored for the Coyotes, losers of seven consecutive games. Mike Smith made 39 stops in the hard-luck defeat.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Winnipeg 3

Patric Hornqvist returned to the lineup and scored the game-winning goal during the third period to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win over Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Hornqvist, who missed 11 games due to a lower-body injury, finished with two goals, David Perron had a goal and an assist and Steve Downie and Nick Spaling also scored for the Penguins, who ended a four-game skid. Kris Letang also came back for Pittsburgh after sitting out the final game prior to the All-Star break with a concussion and tallied five assists. Thomas Greiss made 19 saves in the win. Adam Lowry and Chris Thorburn each posted a goal and an assist. Jacob Trouba also lit the lamp and Evander Kane supplied three helpers as the Jets’ five-game winning streak came to an end. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25 shots in defeat. Pittsburgh has won its last six games against the Jets and owns a 14-game unbeaten streak at home against them that dates back to March 24, 2007, when they were the Atlanta Thrashers.

Final Score: Columbus 4, Washington 3

Cam Atkinson and Fedor Tyutin each had a goal and an assist to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Ryan Johansen and Mark Letestu each scored a goal for the Blue Jackets, who have won three of their last four. Curtis McElhinney stopped 25 shots in the win. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist, while Troy Brouwer and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals, who have dropped their past four games. Braden Holtby allowed all four goals on 30 shots.

Final Score: Carolina 4, Tampa Bay 2

Eric Staal posted a goal and one assist while Jordan Staal contributed a pair of helpers to Carolina’s 4-2 decision over Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Nathan Gerbe, Justin Faulk and Jiri Tlusty also lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who have won three in a row. Anton Khudobin won thanks to a 28-save effort. Cedric Paquette and Brian Boyle supplied offense for the Lightning, who were denied a season-series sweep. Ben Bishop took the loss after stopping only 18 pucks.

Final Score: Montreal 3, Dallas 2

Carey Price made 40 saves and the Montreal Canadiens returned from the All-Star break with a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Price helped fight off Dallas’ two-man advantage late in the third period as the Canadiens held on for a third straight win. Alex Galchenyuk, Alexei Emelin and Brendan Gallagher all scored on Kari Lehtonen, who managed just 23 saves in Dallas’ second straight loss. Jamie Benn scored for the Stars and assisted on Patrick Eaves’ goal.

Final Score: Detroit 5, Florida 4

Luke Glendening scored twice and the Detroit Red Wings held off the Florida Panthers for a 5-4 win on Tuesday. Stephen Weiss posted a goal and two assists, Drew Miller scored a short-handed goal, Henrik Zetterberg also lit the lamp and Petr Mrazek made 37 saves in the Red Wings’ sixth straight win. Aleksander Barkov finished with a goal and two assists, Nick Bjugstad supplied a goal and a helper and Brad Boyes and Brandon Pirri also scored for the Panthers, who dropped their fifth game in a row. Al Montoya made 10 saves in relief of Roberto Luongo, who gave up five goals on 17 shots.

Final Score: Nashville 4, Colorado 3 (OT)

Craig Smith scored at 2:46 of overtime as the Nashville Predators nabbed a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Colorado had tied the game on Nick Holden’s goal with 16 seconds left in regulation, but Nashville was still able to win the game shortly after Carter Hutton made a tough save on a Zach Redmond one-timer. The Predators skated down the other way and Mike Ribeiro sent a saucer pass from the right boards to the left for Smith, who skated down the middle and snapped a wrister past Semyon Varlamov for the victory. Filip Forsberg, Colin Wilson and Roman Josi all scored while Ribeiro posted three assists for the Predators, who had lost their final two games before the All-Star break. Hutton stopped 21 shots in the win. Jarome Iginla and Cody McLeod also scored in addition for the Avalanche, who have lost three of their last four games. Varlamov stopped 35 shots.

Final Score: Calgary 4, Buffalo 1

Josh Jooris, Joe Colborne and Johnny Gaudreau scored in a span of eight-plus minutes in the third period, as Calgary dealt Buffalo its 12th consecutive defeat thanks to a 4-1 decision from the Saddledome. Gaudreau added a first-period strike and Jiri Hudler added a pair of assists for the Flames, who have taken five of their last six and shook off a loss in Anaheim six days ago. Jonas Hiller backed up his timely offense with a 17-save effort, his first win since Dec. 31. Chris Stewart netted the lone goal for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth stopped 27 shots in the setback. Buffalo has failed to earn a point since a 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders on Dec. 27, the longest drought since the Penguins lost 13 in a row in regulation from Jan. 13-Feb. 12, 2004.

Final Score: Minnesota 2, Edmonton 1

Charlie Coyle scored the game-winning goal with 4:23 remaining as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday. Nino Niederreiter also scored and Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves for the Wild, who ended a two-game skid. Boyd Gordon provided Edmonton’s lone goal and Viktor Fasth stopped 27-of-29 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Anaheim 4, Vancouver 0

Frederik Andersen turned aside 17 shots for his third shutout of the season to guide the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist while Patrick Maroon, Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri also scored for the Ducks, who have ripped off six straight victories. Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 23 shots for the Canucks, who have lost their past two.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Berdych stuns Nadal, Murray tops Kyrgios in Melbourne

Tomas Berdych picked a good time to end his lengthy losing streak to Rafael Nadal, while Andy Murray continued his run toward another Australian Open final.

Tuesday’s first men’s quarterfinal was never close and the second wasn’t much more competitive.

Berdych became the first player to stamp his ticket into the semifinals following a shocking 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) win over the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal at the year’s first Grand Slam event.

Murray, a three-time Aussie Open runner-up, then dispatched 19-year-old Aussie crowd favorite Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

The third-seeded Nadal was able to fend off a pair of match points in his final service game of the third set, but was unable to overcome a 2-5 deficit in the tiebreak. With the No. 7 seed Berdych up 6-5, Nadal sent the backhand of Berdych’s serve into the net and the Czech officially put his straight-set triumph into the books.

Berdych had dropped 17 consecutive matches to last year’s Aussie Open finalist Nadal, a streak that dated back to 2007. He also reached his second straight Aussie semi.

The big-hitting Berdych had been 3-18 lifetime against Nadal, including a loss in the 2010 Wimbledon final.

Nadal owns 14 major titles, including a lone Aussie championship in 2009. He’s also a two-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, including last year against Stan Wawrinka.

“It just was not my day,“ said Nadal. “I didn’t play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me. You have to play well to win against a player like Tomas. I didn’t play my best today. He played better than me and that’s it. That’s sport.

“Sometimes, almost every time, it is simple: the player who plays better, the player who is able to maintain the better rhythm, the better concentration, play with less mistakes, is the player who has more success. And today this player has been Tomas.“

Meanwhile, Murray was in command throughout against Kyrgios and didn’t face a break point against his serve until the seventh game of the third set. He advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years, bouncing back from a quarterfinal loss to Roger Federer last year.

The sixth-seeded Scot broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set and won a tight tiebreak in the second before breaking serve for another 4-2 lead in the third. Kyrgios finally answered with a break, but Murray responded with one of his own for a 5-3 advantage and held serve to finish the match in just over two hours.

“I’m happy. It’s nice to be in the latter stages of a slam again,“ said Murray. “I’m happy with that. Obviously we want to do the best possible, but all you can do is prepare as best you can, which I certainly did over the past few weeks and months, and have given myself an opportunity. Maybe I won’t play well in a couple of days; maybe I play great. I don’t know. But I’ve given myself a good opportunity again, and hopefully I can use it to my advantage.“

The two-time Grand Slam champion Murray will meet Berdych in the semis.

Men’s quarterfinal play will continue Wednesday. The fourth-seeded defending Melbourne champion Wawrinka will face fifth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori and the evening match will feature four-time Aussie winner Novak Djokovic against eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic.

“Obviously, if he serves as well as he does, 20, 30 aces average per match, puts a lot of pressure on the opponent’s serve,“ Djokovic said of Raonic. “You take a chance, you double fault, the set is gone. These kind of matches are very challenging mentally for us to play against servers like that.“

Djokovic is a perfect 4-0 versus Raonic, while Wawrinka is 2-1 lifetime against Nishikori, although the Japanese star captured their last meeting in the U.S. Open quarterfinals back in September.

The world No. 1 Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon champion who is seeking an eighth Grand Slam title. He captured three straight Aussie crowns from 2011-13.

►   Sharapova, Makarova cruise into Aussie semis

Maria Sharapova dominated Eugenie Bouchard to reach her third Australian Open semifinal in four years, while Ekaterina Makarova had a similarly easy time ousting third-seeded Simona Halep during Tuesday’s quarterfinal action at the year’s first Grand Slam event.

The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova, the 2008 Aussie champ and a two-time runner-up, needed just 77 minutes to down the seventh-seeded 2014 Wimbledon finalist Bouchard by a 6-3, 6-2 score.

“I felt pretty good from the start,“ said Sharapova. “I thought I had a really good start. I kept my focus throughout the whole match. I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important. When I did have a few slips I was able to come out with great first serves or really powerful returns. But overall really happy with the way the match went.“

Makarova, meanwhile, landed in her second career Grand slam semi by overpowering a mistake-prone Halep, the world’s third-ranked player and a finalist at last year’s French Open. The Romanian star committed 31 unforced errors and double-faulted four times in dropping a 6-4, 6-0 decision to the 10th-seeded Russian left-hander.

“I had a bad day,“ said Halep. “But she played well and everything was in for her. I’m really sad a little bit now that I could not play my tennis, my game, but that’s tennis and I have to look forward to the next tournament.“

Makarova, meanwhile, will play in her second straight Grand Slam semifinal. She dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision to Serena Williams in last year’s U.S. Open semis.

“Maybe I’ve brought all the atmosphere and memories here from New York,“ said Makarova. “I’m really enjoying myself. It’s a really nice time for me.“

Sharapova, who will face Makarova in Thursday’s semifinals, hasn’t dropped a set since escaping with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win over qualifier Alexandra Panova in the second round.

The five-time Grand Slam champion credited a phone call from her father for helping turn things around.

“I don’t want to face that phone call with my father too many times during a tournament,“ she said. “He told me that I was working much harder than I had to. If I was maybe a little bit smarter, did a few things maybe a little bit differently, maybe it could have been easier.“

It’s been pretty easy for Sharapova against her fellow Russian Makarova.

Makarova hasn’t beaten Sharapova in five all-time meetings, dropping the last four in straight sets. The two met twice previously at the Australian Open, with Sharapova taking quarterfinal matchups in 2012 and 2013.

“Well, I’ve never beaten her, so it will be tough,“ said Makarova about again facing Sharapova. “Definitely she’s a great fighter. Like here in the second round, she almost lost, but she turned (it) around.“

The Williams sisters will each take part in Wednesday’s two quarterfinal matches, with top-seeded Serena continuing her quest for a sixth career title in Melbourne by taking on No. 11 seed and last year’s Aussie runner-up Dominika Cibulkova. The 18th-seeded former top-ranked star Venus will square off against 19-year-old fellow American Madison Keys.

Serena is 4-0 lifetime against Cibulkova, while Venus is 1-0 versus her compatriot Keys.

The reigning U.S. Open champion Serena owns 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including five here in Melbourne.

Venus, a seven-time major champion and 2003 Aussie runner-up to Serena, is a perfect 9-0 this year, including a title in Auckland three weeks ago.

For the first time since 2003, three Americans are into the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam.

►   Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update – January 27

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Rafael Nadal (3), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5)
Andy Murray (6) defeated Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Milos Raonic (8), 3:30 AM ET
Stan Wawrinka (4) vs. Kei Nishikori (5), day session

►   Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 27

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


P.Herbert/N.Mahut defeated J.Benneteau/E.Roger-Vasselin (2), 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3
I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) defeated F.Lopez/M.Mirnyi, 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)


J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6) vs. D.Inglot/F.Mergea (14)
P.Cuevas/D.Marrero vs. S.Bolelli/F.Fognini

►   Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 27

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Eugenie Bouchard (7), 6-3, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Simona Halep (3), 6-4, 6-0


Serena Williams (1) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (11)
Venus Williams (18) vs. Madison Keys, 7 PM ET Tuesday

►   Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 27

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6,

M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) defeated R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5), 3-6,

6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac, 6-1, 6-2
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated K.Bertens/J.Larsson, 6-2, 7-5


M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) vs. Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14)
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) vs. B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Golf Tidbits: Can Haas keep the momentum?

Bill Haas has consistently won on the PGA Tour with six titles over the last six years, with two wins in the 2010 season.

He fought through a crowded leaderboard on Sunday to win the Humana Challenge and pick up his first win since the 2013 season. Can he continue the momentum after this victory?

His wins in 2011 (Tour Championship) and 2013 (AT&T National) helped him make his only two national teams as he played on the United States Presidents Cup teams those seasons.

In his career, the only time Haas kept a little momentum after a win was in the 2010 campaign, when he won twice. His first victory that season happened in January and his second title was in October. But those wins were among just four top-10 finishes for the season.

The following year his victory was the seventh and final top-10 finish of the season. It also came at the end of the season, so there wasn’t much he could do. He could have used the momentum to carry him into the Presidents Cup, but he went just 1-3-1 at that event.

Haas’ win in 2012 was early in the season as he won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. He played 18 more events the remainder of that season, and posted just one more top-10 finish.

His 2013 victory came in July and he played nine events following that title. He notched two more top-10s after the victory.

History shows that Haas has struggled to carry the momentum through a full season. Can he do that this time around?

Coming off a 2014 season in which he played through a wrist injury, Haas seemed surprised that he won on Sunday.

“Honestly, if you would have told me I would have done this last week, I would have laughed at you,“ Haas said afterward. “It’s definitely a relief. Any kind of a win is unbelievable.“

If Haas can carry the momentum through this season, it will depend on the health of his wrist.

“Well, it’s definitely a concern, just because any time your body doesn’t feel great, you don’t know what’s going on. And there’s a tiny little fracture and a tiny little bone in my wrist and I was able to play on it,“ Haas said. “It doesn’t hurt that bad to hit, but I do think I favor it. I’ve lost distance since I hurt it and that’s something I’ve been complaining about. Just trying to let it get healthy enough to where I can be more aggressive through the ball. Whether or not it hurts or not, I think my body’s compensating for it a little bit, unconsciously.“

Haas is lowering expectations and being realistic at the same time. One bad swing could put him on the shelf for a lengthy amount of time.

He has averaged 27 events a season in his nine full seasons on the tour. So with the season in full swing, it is hard to find time to take more than two or three straight weeks off to rest.

Rest, patience and focus are three things Haas will need a premium on the remainder of this season if he is to carry the momentum from this victory through the year.


Tiger Woods met with the media at the TPC Scottsdale after playing a quick nine holes and assessed the state of his game. He also reminisced about his previous appearances at the Phoenix Open.

Woods has played the event three times, but not since 2001. Two of those trips were memorable.

In his first appearance in 1997, Woods had a hole-in-one on the raucous par-3 16th.

“Smelling and hearing the beer hit behind me on the tee box ... to see all this beer flying was crazy,“ Woods recalled of his ace.

Two years later, his tee shot on the par-5 13th stopped behind a boulder in the desert, but he got a few friends to move it.

“I thought it was lighter than it was,“ Woods joked of the boulder. “I thought I could move it (because it was a loose impediment). Evidently it took like five other dudes to do it. The funny thing about it is, they moved it the wrong way. If you remember, I hit it in the right bunker, but I wanted to hit it up the left.“

Woods not only chuckled several times sharing those stories, but showed off his photographic memory of his career at the same time.

He went on to say that he is now healthy after a lengthy battle with the flu, and he is getting back to hitting his golf ball distances that he didn’t think he would be able to get back to following his back problems last year.

We may not be able see that first hand this week with cool, rainy conditions expected on Friday and Saturday.

It will be interesting what Woods’ game looks like because he played one tournament since August. His short game will be the biggest focus of the week after he struggled with it at his own event in December.


* Branden Grace has had six 54-hole leads in his European Tour career, and he has won all six events. He fired a 66 in the final round in Qatar to win by one stroke.

* The LPGA and tours kick off their seasons this week. The LPGA has a new event in Florida and you can tell the players are ready for the season to get underway as 16 of the top-20 players from the world rankings are in the field at the Coates Golf Championship.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NASCAR to leave championship format unchanged in 2015

NASCAR won’t change its new championship format, which chairman Brian France said Monday is “overwhelmingly popular” with fans.

The Chase was revamped last year into an elimination-style system that created a winner-take-all final race among four drivers. Kevin Harvick won the season finale at Homestead in November to claim his first Sprint Cup title.

France called it “perhaps the best Chase ever” and said the excitement will carry into this season.

“It’s overwhelmingly popular with our most important stakeholder, the fans,” France of the Chase during the kickoff to the annual NASCAR media tour. “They (fans) like the fact that it tightened up competition. They liked the drama down the stretch. They like the emphasis on winning. And one of the things they told us that they really liked is the idea that we weren’t going to change anything. And they strongly suggested that we didn’t. And we’re not going to.”

NASCAR first debuted the Chase in 2004 and tweaked it several times in the first 10 years. But it got a dramatic overhaul before the 2014 season, when the driver field was expanded to 16 with four eliminated after every third Chase race.

The final four drivers then went to Homestead even in the standings, with the highest finisher guaranteed the championship. The system worked in creating an eventful finale in which all four contenders raced for the win.

France said he believed the a simple formula that did not require following points — drivers made the Chase by winning a race, and advanced through the rounds with wins — was embraced by fans.

“One of the magical parts of this Chase, and we want to make sure we keep it this way, is the simplicity of it: Win and you’re in,” said France.

One change coming into 2015 will be that NASCAR will no longer permit teams to alter their car’s side skirts during a race. The practice was widespread last season, but NASCAR took no action against teams.

Many crew chiefs believed the flaring of the side skirts was in violation of the interpretation of the rule, but because NASCAR was not acting on it, they were forced to manipulate the sheet metal to keep up with other teams.

Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said cars will be brought back in if NASCAR sees the skirts have been manipulated during a pit stop. Policing the flared skirts will be done “by any means possible,” O’Donnell said.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Detroit at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Portland at Cleveland, 7:00 PM - KGW, FS-Ohio, DSS
Sacramento at Toronto, 7:30 PM - CSN-California, TSN, DSS
Boston at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - CSN-New England, North, DSS
Dallas at Houston, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, ROOT-Southwest, DSS
Brooklyn at Atlanta, 8:00 PM - YES, SportSouth, ESPN
Oklahoma City at New York, 8:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, MSG, DSS
Denver at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - Altitude, FS-New Orleans, DSS
Charlotte at San Antonio, 8:30 PM - SportSouth, FS-Southwest, DSS
LA Clippers at Utah, 9:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Washington at Phoenix, 10:30 PM - CSN-DC, FS-Arizona, ESPN
National Hockey League
Toronto at New Jersey, 7:30 PM - SNET, MSG+, DSS
Pittsburgh at Washington, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Chicago at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, NBCSN
College Basketball
Lafayette at Colgate, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Wake Forest at Florida State, 7:00 PM - RSN,
South Carolina at LSU, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Seton Hall at Marquette, 7:00 PM - FS2
American University at Navy, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Wright State at Oakland, 7:00 PM - Comcast,
Minnesota at Penn State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Duquesne at Richmond, 7:00 PM - CSN+
SMU at South Florida, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Hartford at Stony Brook, 7:00 PM -
Temple at UCF, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Radford at Charleston Southern, 7:30 PM - Big South Network
Holy Cross at Loyola-MD, 7:30 PM - Patriot League Network
Duke at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM - ESPN 2
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 7:30 PM - ESPNews
Oregon State at Arizona State, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Drake at Bradley, 8:00 PM - MVC-TV,
Lehigh at Bucknell, 8:00 PM - MASN
Rice at Houston, 8:00 PM -
Missouri State at Illinois State, 8:00 PM -
Loyola-Chicago at Wright State, 8:00 PM - COX (KS),
Louisville at Boston College, 9:00 PM - ACC Network,
St. John’s at Creighton, 9:00 PM - FS1
East Carolina at Memphis, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Georgia Tech at Miami-Florida, 9:00 PM - RSN,
Clemson at NC State, 9:00 PM - ACC Network,
Miss State at Ole Miss, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Indiana at Purdue, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Kansas at TCU, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Oregon at Arizona, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Stanford at Washington, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
East Carolina at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - SNY,
Detroit at Youngstown State, 7:00 PM -
Kent State at Central Michigan, 7:00 PM -
Memphis at Cincinnati, 7:00 PM - American Network
Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 8:00 PM - COX Cable
Penn State at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Bowling Green at Northern Illinois, 8:00 PM -
International Soccer
Cameroon vs. Ivory Coast, 12:55 PM - beIN Sport
Club Atletico de Madrid vs. FC Barcelona, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport
United States vs. Chile, 6:00 PM - FS1
LPGA - Coates Golf Championship, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
Australian Open, 9:30 PM - ESPN 2

Area Closings and Delays on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Status of Area Closings and Delays on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Glenville State College  
Gilmer County Courthouse
Gilmer County Senior Center
Gilmer County Schools  
Braxton County Schools  
Calhoun County Schools  
Doddridge County Schools  
Lewis County Schools  
Ritchie County Schools  
Barbour County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Clay County Schools  
Harrison County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Nicholas County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Pleasants County Schools  
Roane County Schools  
Tyler County Schools  
Upshur County Schools  
Webster County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Wirt County Schools  
Wood County Schools  

LeRoy Cook

The Gilmer Free Press

LeRoy Cook

Age 62, of Gassaway, WV passed away Monday, January 26, 2015 at Braxton Memorial Hospital, Gassaway.

He was born July 27, 1952 in Sutton, WV the son of the late John Leonard & Mary Bernice Jarvis Cook.

Also preceding him in death were his sisters, Carolyn S. Williford, Janice L. Miller and Mary Ann Botley.

LeRoy was a Construction Worker.

He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia Riffle Cook, son, David Lee Cook (Angela) of Cairo, WV, step-son, David Riffle of Huntington, WV, step-daughter, Tabitha Mays (Daniel) of Flatwoods, brothers, John D. Cook (Shirley), James W. Cook (Ann), Larry D. Cook and Charles T. Cook (Anita) all of Sutton, sisters, Norma J. Cook and Bobbie J. Barker (Mitch) both of Sutton, 7 loving grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held 1:00 PM Thursday January 29, 2015 at Greene-Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton with Rev. Dr. Allan Copenhaver officiating.

Burial will follow at Camden Hill Cemetery, Sutton.

Friends may call Wednesday January 28, 2015 6-8 PM at the funeral home.

Greene-Robertson Funeral Home is humbled to be serving the Cook Family.

Area Closings and Delays on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Status of Area Closings and Delays on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Glenville State College  
Gilmer County Courthouse
Gilmer County Senior Center
Gilmer County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Braxton County Schools  
Calhoun County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Doddridge County Schools2 Hour Delay
Lewis County Schools  
Ritchie County Schools  
Barbour County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Clay County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Harrison County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Nicholas County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Pleasants County Schools  
Roane County Schools  
Tyler County Schools  
Upshur County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Webster County Schools 2 Hour Delay
Wirt County Schools  
Wood County Schools  

The Gilmer Free Press

Timothy W. “Tim” Harper

The Gilmer Free Press

Timothy W. “Tim” Harper

Age 56, of Ellenboro, WV (Pike Community), departed this life on Monday, January 26, 2015, at his residence, following a courageous battle with cancer.

Tim was born December 08, 1958 in Parkersburg, WV a son of the late Brooks Harper, Jr and Neva June (Hamrick) Harper of Cairo, WV (Glendale Community).

Tim spent his working career as a laborer first as member of local #639 of Marietta, OH and later retired as member of local #1085 of Parkersburg. He also spent his life as a farmer who had a great love of horses, a great mechanic.

He was a member of Wince Chapel United Methodist Church of Pike, WV.

He is survived by his loving wife of 20 years, Stacy (Newberry) Harper; his children, Brooks Lee and Britney Ann Harper, and his brothers, Dave Harper of Hartville, OH and Steve Harper of Cairo, WV (Glendale Community).

A memorial service to honor Tim will be at 3 PM, on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville with Rev. John Frum officiating.

A gathering of friends will be from 1 P - 3 PM on Saturday.

Susie Virginia McDonald

The Gilmer Free Press

Susie Virginia McDonald

Age 60, of Harrisville, WV passed away January 25, 2015 at Camden Clark Hospital.

She was born January 15, 1955 in Athens, OH, the daughter of the late Henry F. and Glady Sidwell Carpenter.

Susie was a member of Bethany United Methodist Church and loved to travel and her grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband, John W. McDonald; daughter, Barbara S. McDonald of Parkersburg; sons, Richard Carpenter of St. Marys and Dustin McDonald of Harrisville; stepchildren, John McDonald Jr., (Terri) of Oak Hill, WV and Linda Snider, (Don) of Harrisville; 13 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister, Ethel Deem; and brother, Martin Carpenter.

She was preceded in death by brothers Jim, Ronnie and June Carpenter.

Funeral services will be held at 2 PM, Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville with Pastor Stan McDonald and Pastor Terry McDonald officiating.

Burial will follow in the Harrisville IOOF Cemetery.

Friends may call at the funeral home Wednesday from 1-2 PM.

West Virginia Hunters Harvest 1,016 Fall Turkeys in 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

Preliminary figures for the 2014 fall turkey hunting season reveal that 1,016 turkeys were checked in.

Statewide, the 2014 harvest was very similar to the 999 reported in 2013.

Three of the six administrative districts reported increases in harvest from 2013 levels ranging from a modest 4% increase in District 1 to a 69% increase in District 6, despite having two additional counties closed to hunting.

Districts 2, 4 and 5 reported declines in harvest.

The decline in District 5 was likely due to only one county being open to hunting in 2014, compared to five counties in 2013.

“Fall turkey harvests are highly influenced by hunter participation and interest, annual recruitment and hard mast conditions,“ said Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

“Turkey brood production was fairly good this year and it mimicked the 5-year average. Brood observations were 30% higher than last year and 15% better than 2012. These production improvements and better mast conditions led us to anticipate a similar fall harvest, which happened even with six fewer counties open to hunting.“

Top counties for 2014 were Nicholas (90), Greenbrier (84), Randolph (83), Pocahontas (54) and Preston (53).

  HARVEST, 2010-2014

County 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Barbour C C 30 C 18
Brooke 6 6 7 9 2
Hancock 24 8 11 8 5
Harrison 0 20 26 20 20
Marion 12 C 15 4 6
Marshall 15 11 28 10 22
Monongalia 24 13 18 24 15
Ohio 16 12 12 9 3
Preston 80 76 63 77 53
Taylor 7 C 11 8 5
Tucker 28 17 25 14 25
Wetzel 9 C 14 2 18
District 1 Subtotal 221 163 260 185 192
Berkeley 18 35 18 36 19
Grant 42 31 31 41 31
Hampshire 30 22 22 41 25
Hardy 33 27 30 34 27
Jefferson C C C C C
Mineral 17 32 22 28 21
Morgan 14 18 5 13 15
Pendleton 38 38 46 26 31
District 2 Subtotal 192 203 174 219 169
Braxton C C C C C
Clay C C C C C
Lewis 12 22 C 8 C
Nicholas 46 61 98 39 90
Pocahontas 47 68 79 57 54
Randolph 58 142 77 59 83
Upshur 40 42 43 24 C
Webster 37 44 58 35 52
District 3 Subtotal 240 379 355 222 279
Fayette C C C C C
Greenbrier 92 90 138 58 84
McDowell 16 C C 33 C
Mercer C 52 C C C
Monroe 59 63 89 71 52
Raleigh C C C C C
Summers 36 31 71 42 41
Wyoming 31 C C 37 34
District 4 Subtotal 234 236 298 241 211
Boone C C C C C
Cabell 6 5 10 1 C
Kanawha C C C C C
Lincoln 41 C C 14 C
Logan C C C 17 C
Mason 46 57 37 20 33
Mingo C C C C C
Putnam 38 21 21 2 C
Wayne C C C C C
District 5 Subtotal 131 83 68 54 33
Calhoun C C 14 8 C
Doddridge C C C C C
Gilmer C C C 6 C
Jackson 19 33 35 18 36
Pleasants 2 2 5 4 3
Ritchie 12 C C 2 31
Roane C C C C C
Tyler 17 9 6 1 8
Wirt 21 34 22 19 23
Wood 37 43 35 20 31
District 6 Subtotal 108 121 117 78 132
Unknown 0 0 1 0 0
State Total 1126 1185 1186 999 1016

Column: From the WV Senate Minority Leader Senator Jeff Kessler - 01.23.15

The Gilmer Free Press

As we begin another legislative session in Charleston, I am once again honored to represent the people of the 2nd Senatorial District. While my new role as Minority Leader may be a bit different this year, my commitment to help pass meaningful legislation to move West Virginia forward remains the same. I am hopeful that we can come together in the Senate and do what is best for the citizens of this great state.

Earlier this week in the Senate we passed a bill that will repeal the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Act. The law, originally passed in 2009,  requires power companies to use “alternative fuels” for 25% of electricity production by 2025. The original bill included various types of coal and natural gas technology in its definition of alternative fuels and many utilities.

Prior to the passage of the repeal, I attempted to amend the bill to include a job impact statement that would give us a firm grasp of what if any impact repealing this bill would have on our economy. I am concerned that if the bill in fact will promote coal production, it could hurt the natural gas industry that is booming in our part of the state.

However, in my opinion and the opinion of many in the utility industry, neither the current law nor the repeal bill have any real effect, since power companies operating in the state are already using alternative fuels, as defined in the law, for 25% of their electricity production.

Given that this legislation was repeatedly and incorrectly portrayed as West Virginia’s version of “cap-and-trade” during the general election campaign, I would like to see empirical data on exactly what the repeal bill will do. We should use data rather than rhetoric to guide our legislative actions.

Also this week, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak that the Fairness West Virginia press conference at the Capitol. The event was held to rally support for Senate Bill 125, which seeks to amend the state’s Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation. The state has no such protections for gay, lesbian or transgender residents.

I am proud to be the lead sponsor of this bill and until it is passed the words “with liberty and justice for all” that we recite each morning in the Senate chamber during the pledge of allegiance will continue to ring hollow.

I tell folks that I find it ironic that in West Virginia you can now get married on a Saturday, get evicted on a Sunday and fired on Monday all for doing something that is perfectly legal for others.

We all want to attract more skilled workers and business to West Virginia, but without these protections it makes attracting a diverse workforce that much harder. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, it is a human rights issue and one that we should all support for a truly free and equal society.

If you would like to follow the daily action of the Legislature, visit the 82nd Legislature on the web at

I hear your voice and I encourage all of you, regardless of party or affiliation, to contact me with any concerns you have regarding issues facing our district or our state. You can write to me at: Jeffrey V. Kessler, State Senate, Room 257M, Bldg. 1, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E. Charleston, WV 25305.

Charlene Caroline Sweeney

The Gilmer Free Press

Charlene Caroline Sweeney

Age 79, of Pennsboro, WV departed this life on Friday, January 23, 2015, in Parkersburg, WV.

Charlene was born, February 01, 1935 in Clarksburg, WV, the daughter of the late J. Carl and Elsie McCall Rinehart.

Mrs. Sweeney served Ritchie County Schools for 25 years. The first 10 years of her career, she served as a Special Education Teacher and the remainder of her career she was the Director of Special Education. Charlene was a graduate of Pennsboro High School with the Class of 1952, received her Undergraduate degree from Marietta College and her Master’s degree from Morris Harvey University, now known as the University of Charleston.

She was a member of the Pennsboro United Methodist Church, Pennsboro.

She was a member of the Chapter #26 of the Order of the Eastern Star, was an active member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Board of Health, was a supporter of the Ritchie County Humane Society and had served on the Pennsboro City Council. In addition to her civic activities Charlene was an avid reader, loved animals and was a gracious friend.

Charlene Sweeney is survived by one son, Dr. John Sweeney (Carla), Winston-Salem, NC; one daughter, Sarah K. Stapp,(Vincent), Parkersburg, WV; one daughter in law, Carol Sweeney; seven grandchildren, Jack Sweeney, Jeriaka Stapp, Eli Stapp, Thomas Stapp, Allison McCauslin (Todd), Victoria Sweeney and Molly Sweeney; one great grandchild, Michael McCauslin; and her very special friends, Biff Spitz, Connie Moore, Sheila Collins and Kathy Stewart.

In addition to her parents, Charlene was preceded in death by one son, Matthew Sweeney.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 11:00 AM from the McCullough Funeral Home, Pennsboro, WV, with the Rev. Bill Durst officiating.

Interment will immediately follow the service at the Mt. Harmony Masonic Cemetery, Pennsboro, WV.

Friends may call Friday, January 30, from 4:30-8:00 PM with an Order of the Eastern Star Service at 7:00 PM and on Saturday, from 9:00 AM until the hour of the service, at the McCullough Funeral Home, Pennsboro.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Ritchie County Humane Society, 2220 Pullman Road, Harrisville, WV, 26362.

Douglas Eugene Cottrell

The Gilmer Free Press

Douglas Eugene Cottrell

Age 44, of Mole Hill, Ritchie County, WV, passed away Thursday, January 22, 2015 at the Ruby Memorial Hospital, Morgantown.

He was born June 11, 1970 at Buckhannon, WV, a son of Calvin and Nancy Cottrell of Orma, WV.

Douglas was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was employed by H.G. Energy, LLC for 10 years.

In addition to his parents, survivors include one brother and sister-in-law, Brian and Lori Cottrell of Spencer, WV; one sister and brother-in-law, Ramonia and Mark McCann of Wellsville, NY; two daughters, Katelyn Cottrell of Elizabeth, WV and Kaylee Cottrell of Alma, WV ; one nephew, Christian Cottrell of Huntington, WV; two nieces, Zoe and Grace McCann of Wellsville, NY; nine aunts, Greta Bargelow, Mildred McBride, Kathy Starcher, Loretta Bishop, Carol Summers, Vera Johnson, Connie Hoskins, Patty Cottrell and Glenna Cesaro; six uncles, Don Cottrell, Dave Cottrell, Burl Cottrell, Gerald Cottrell, Wayne Groves and Rodney Groves; lots of cousins.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Fred and Virginia Anderson Groves; paternal grandparents, Noah and Fronia Jones Cottrell; three uncles, Roger Groves, Melvin Cottrell and Darrell Cottrell; and two aunts, Marie Cottrell and Freda Bugden.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM Monday, January 26 at the Arnoldsburg Community Building, with the Rev. Danny Hopkins officiating.

Friends may call two hours before the memorial service.

John H. Taylor Funeral Home of Spencer WV, is in charge of arrangements.

Sports News   150125

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Extra Points: Pro Bowl jumped the shark before Dalton

When it comes to the Pro Bowl, it’s time to tap out.

And pulling the plug on the NFL’s All-Star game wouldn’t exactly be comparable to Daniel Cormier begging off to Jon Jones on the UFC’s biggest stage.

Ending this fruitless exercise would be more like a tree falling in the forest and it’s not going to spark any meaningful debate with the dozens and dozens who actually still care about it.

Interestingly it was Andy Dalton’s Pro Bowl recognition on Tuesday that set Twitter off as if an average quarterback playing in a meaningless football game is some kind of calamity.

The laughable aspect of Dalton’s inclusion to the detractors is the fact that he was the seventh alternate at his particular position, a development that really highlighted the ridiculousness of the process.

Originally, six QBs were named to the Pro Bowl and just two remain from that pool, Andrew Luck and Tony Romo.

Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning were the first to drop out due to injury and top alternate Drew Brees was tabbed to replace “Big Ben.“ Philip Rivers was next in line to take Peyton’s place but the veteran Chargers star begged off due to his own injury.

Third alternate Russell Wilson is busy with Super Bowl business so the fourth option, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, got Manning’s spot.

When the Patriots won the AFC Championship Game last Sunday, that took Tom Brady, who was part of the original six, out of the equation and No. 5, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, stepped up.

It was only a matter of time before likely MVP Aaron Rodgers would throw his get-out-of-jail-free card into the middle of the table because of his high- profile calf injury and that domino fell Tuesday, making room for Baltimore’s Joe Flacco expect for the fact “January Joe” had no interest because his wife is expecting their third child.

And that’s how you end up with the seventh alternate playing quarterback in the Pro Bowl.

I’m expecting my invitation on Saturday.

While Dalton’s presence magnifies the nonsense that is the actual game, the real jump-the-shark moment for the Pro Bowl came last year when the NFL pulled the plug on the traditional conference format to cater to the millennial audience with a “fantasy football for real” mentality.

These days players are assigned to two teams through a draft and this year Pro Football Hall of Fame receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin are serving as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl squads—Team Carter and Team Irvin.

Fellow Hall of Famers and former teammates John Randle (Team Carter) and Darren Woodson (Team Irvin) serve as defensive co-captains and the ex-Vikings and former Cowboys handled the draft process while being assisted by two active player captains and the winner of the NFL’s Fantasy Coach of the Year program.

Full disclosure forces me to admit a deep dislike for fantasy football, an activity that’s lone contribution to society in my mind is FXX’s laugh-out- loud sitcom “The League.“

However, it would be disingenuous to say fantasy hasn’t proven to be a cash cow for the NFL and everything from the Red Zone channel to rule changes skewed toward the offense have been put in place with an eye on picking the pocket of the short-attention-span crowd.

And from a purely business perspective it’s a sound short-term strategy. On an average week, I’ll do about a dozen radio hits across the country and the “who should I play this week” people now far outnumber the astute football fans, who are actually invested in the strategy of the game.

Catering to the least common denominator, though, is never the long-term solution because they’re moving on quickly and not really invested in the product.

Even fellow fantasy fans have no interest in watching one of their own live out his wet dream while Rich Eisen pretends it’s relevant.

Which brings me to my biggest fantasy, halting the goofy game known as the Pro Bowl.  ~~  John McMullen ~~

►   No proof of misconduct by Steelers security boss

The Allegheny County Sheriff says there is no proof of misconduct by a deputy who moonlights as the chief of security for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sheriff William Mullen called Lieutenant Jack Kearney a “model employee” in the wake of an ESPN report that labeled Kearney a “cleaner” who has helped several Steeler players who ran into legal trouble.

Kearney, who leads the fugitive squad, has worked with the Steelers since 2001. Mullen says there has only been one complaint against Kearney in that time, when a federal marshal claimed Kearney overstepped his boundaries while marshals attempted to track down a member of the team’s practice squad who was wanted for questioning in a prostitution ring.

The team says it is not aware of any conflict of interest between Kearney’s job with the sheriff’s office and his role with the Steelers.

►   Steelers sign punter Brad Wing to 1-year extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sticking with punter Brad Wing.

The team signed Wing to a one-year contract extension on Friday. The 23-year-old Wing averaged 43.7 yards per punt in 2014, the fifth-best mark by a rookie punter in team history. Nearly a third of Wing’s punts were downed inside the opponent’s 20.

Wing joined the Steelers last January. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. Wing, who played at LSU, was expected to battle Adam Podlesh for the starting job but Podlesh never joined the team following a family emergency in training camp.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

#6 Greenbrier East 74     #4 Gilmer County 49

Ritchie County 67     Braxton County 57

#6 Notre Dame 61     #8 Charleston Catholic 38

Grafton 68     #5 Lincoln 46

Weirton Madonna 88     Tyler Consolidated 53

Bishop Donahue 69     Williamstown 57

St. Marys 84     Parkersburg Catholic 57

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

Ritchie County 39     Braxton County 29

George Washington 53     #9 Bridgeport 48

Parkersburg South 85     Wintersville Indian Creek, Ohio 50

►   Big Atlantic Classic Schedule

High school schedule

Monday, January 26

Game 1 — Moorefield vs. Greater Beckley Christian (boys A), 7:25 PM

Game 2 — Sherman vs. Gilmer County (boys A), 9 PM

Tuesday, January 27

Game 3 — Wyoming East vs. Westside (boys AA), 7:25 PM

Game 4 — Liberty Raleigh vs. Scott (boys AA), 9 PM

Wednesday, January 28

Game 5 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser (boys A consolation), 3:45 PM

Game 6 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser (boys AA consolation), 5:30 PM

Game 7 — Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. Blue Ridge (boys national), 7:20 PM

Game 8 — Morgantown vs. Huntington (girls), 9 PM

Thursday, January 29

Game 9 — Brooke vs. George Washington (girls), 4 PM

Game 10 — Wyoming East vs. St. Albans (girls), 5:45 PM

Game 11 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (boys A championship), 7:25 PM

Game 12 — Greenbrier East vs. Oak Hill (girls), 9 PM

Friday, January 30

Game 13 — Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 loser (girls co-consolation), 2 PM

Game 14 — Parkersburg South vs. Princeton (boys AAA), 4 PM

Game 15 — Shady Spring vs. Martinsburg (boys AAA), 5:40 PM

Game 16 — Greenbrier East vs. Hampshire (boys AAA), 7:20 PM

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson vs. Washington (boys AAA), 9 PM

Saturday, January 31

Game 18 — Game 8 vs. Game 12 loser (girls co-consolation), 9 AM

Game 19 — Game 14 loser vs. Game 15 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 10:40 AM

Game 20 — Game 16 loser vs. Game 17 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 12:20 PM

Game 21 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (boys AA championship), 2 PM

Game 22 — Game 8 winner vs. Game 12 winner (girls co-championship), 4 PM

Game 23 — Game 14 winner vs. Game 15 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 5:40 PM

Game 24 — Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner (girls co-championship), 7:20 PM

Game 25 — Game 16 winner vs. Game 17 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 9 PM

The Gilmer Free Press

►   MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

Wheeling Jesuit 102, No. 5 West Liberty 80 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit handed fifth-ranked West Liberty its second-straight loss, 102-80, on Thursday night at the ASRC.

The Cardinals (8-7, 4-6) shot 60% from the field in the game and made 11-of-20 from behind the arc. WJU led the entire game. West Liberty (14-2, 9-2) shot 44% from the field and made just 6-of-22 from three-point range. The ‘Toppers also struggled from the free throw line making just 14-of-30. 

Justin Fritts led WJU with 24 points, five assists and four rebounds. Eric Siefert had 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Pat Moseh had 15 points, Haywood Highsmith tallied 13 and Tim Goff registered 11.

C.J. Hester led West Liberty with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Devin Hoehn had 14, and Seger Bonifant was limited to 10 points.

Notre Dame 85, Urbana 82 | Final Stats

Najeeb Johnson’s three-pointer with 14 seconds left proved to be the difference in an 85-82 win over Urbana on Thursday night at the Grimes Center.

The Blue Knights led by as many as 16 points in the second half, and Notre Dame’s first and only lead came after Johnson’s three. The Falcons outscored Urbana 15-2 in the final 3:05.

Lawrence DeArmond led NDC (10-7, 6-5) with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Kyauta Taylor scored 20 and Tyree Gaiter and Will Vorhees each added 13. Johnson finished with 14 points for the Falcons.

Urbana (4-13, 1-10) was led by 20 points from Mike Newton. Matt Csuhran had 18 and John Summers turned in 11 points.

Concord 92, UVa-Wise 55 | Final Stats

Concord handled UVa-Wise, 92-55, on Thursday night at the Carter Center.

The Mountain Lions (11-5, 7-4) shot 53% form the field and out-rebounded UVa-Wise by a 49-24 margin. CU was led by 13 points from Rob Reed, and got 11 points apiece from B.J. Hamlet and Taylor Smith.

Brian Sydnor had 16 points and 18 rebounds for UVa-Wise (1-15, 0-11). Matt Day scored 14 and Tyler Maggard finished with 11 points.

Fairmont State 89, Shepherd 77 | Final Stats

 Fairmont State overcame a seven-point halftime deficit and defeated Shepherd, 89-77, on Thursday night at Joe Retton Arena. 

FSU (11-6, 8-3) shot 63% and made 6-of-9 from three-pointers in the second half to aid its comeback. The Falcons committed just 10 turnovers and had a 30-26 edge over the Rams on the glass.

Fairmont State’s Nick Harney led all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds. Chase Morgan drained four three-pointers on his way to 17 points, and Jamel Morris had 15 points. Thomas Wimbush had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Vega handed out seven assists.

Shepherd (10-7, 5-6) was led by 18 points from Austin Cunningham. Naim Muhammad had 16 and A.J. Carr contributed 12. 

Glenville State 71, West Virginia Wesleyan 66 | Final Stats

Glenville State managed a 71-66 win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Thursday night at the Rockefeller Center.

The Pioneers (13-4, 9-2) never trailed in the second half, but WVWC (7-10, 5-6) was able to get to within a bucket at 68-66 after a three from Chris Dewberry. The Bobcats had the ball and a chance to tie, but Dewberry’s jumper wouldn’t fall this time, and the Pioneers got the rebound and Donte Morales sank two free throws to essentially ice the game.

GSC shot 51% from the field and were led by 21 points from Brett Morris, including 15 points from behind the three-point line. Reggie Williams added 17 for the Pioneers.

Taylor Price had 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Bobcats. Dewberry scored 16 and Tanner McGrew had 15 points to go with 14 rebounds.

Charleston 82, West Virginia State 70 | Final Stats

Charleston outscored West Virginia State 14-4 in the final 6:03 to secure an 82-70 win over the Yellow Jackets.

UC improves to 13-4 overall and 8-3 in the league, while WVSU drops to 3-15 overall and 3-7 in the MEC.

Chris Evans led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, and Vincent Dillard came off the bench to add 18. Jevonte Hughes was 6-of-8 from the field on his way to 15 points, and Octavius Green finished with 13.

WVSU shot 52% from the field and got a huge performance from Markee Mazyck with 34 points. Dominic Phillips had 15 points and five assists.

►   MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

Charleston 63, Fairmont State 61 | Final Stats

Monet Saunders scored a game-high 23 points and hit the game-clinching free throws to lift Charleston to a 63-61 win over Fairmont State at Eddie King Gymnasium.

Fairmont State led by six at halftime, but UC battled back in a close second half that saw seven ties. FSU built a 59-55 lead with 4:04 to go, but the Golden Eagles managed to hold the Falcons to just two more points the rest of the way and scored eight of their own to secure the victory. 

Saunders added 12 rebounds to go with her 23 points to lead UC (14-4, 9-3). LeAnne Ross added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Fairmont State (14-4, 8-4) was led by 20 points and five assists from Emily Puskarich. Hailey Garrett scored 16 and Emily Lohr finished with 10.

Glenville State 92, Concord 67 | Final Stats

Glenville State rolled to a 92-67 win over Concord on Saturday afternoon at the Carter Center.

Katrina Salins led Glenville State (8-8, 6-6) with 21 points. Julie Bishop scored 14, Keyanna Tate had 13, and Tayana Stewart came off the bench to add 10.

Rachel Artrip scored 18 and Jaqueline Kestner added 17 to lead Concord (5-11, 5-7).

UVa-Wise 84, West Virginia Wesleyan 74 | Final Stats

 UVa-Wise shot over 50% from the field and had five players reach double figures in an 84-74 win at the Rockefeller Center.

Taylor Sandidge led the Cavs (6-12, 5-7) with 17 points while also recording five rebounds and four assists. Blair Harding had 14 points and a game-high seven assists, and Katie Jo Dockery also finished with 14 points. Kehana Grayer added 12 and Allison Ball came off the bench to score 11.

The Bobcats (1-14, 1-11) got huge performances from Mari Stewart (26 points) and Adrian Cunningham (25 points) in the loss. 

West Liberty 83, Urbana 62 | Final Stats 

Kailee Howe scored 18 points and handed out 15 assists to lead West Liberty to an 83-62 win over Urbana. 

The Hilltoppers (12-6, 9-3) finished with 13 threes in the game, six of which came from Jenn Mohney, who finished with 18 points. Hillary Southworth scored 16 and Liz Flowers had 14 for WLU.

Tori Purk led Urbana (1-17, 1-11) with 16 points. Kate Francisco added 14, Jeni Jordan had 13 and Kennedy Boggs turned in 11 points to go with seven rebounds.

Shepherd 103, West Virginia State 79 | Final Stats

Shepherd shot an MEC record 65% from the field in a 103-79 win over West Virginia State on Saturday.

The Rams (13-5, 10-2) connected on 41-of-63 attempts in the game. Cara Mason went for a game-high 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-4 from three-point range. Rachel Johnson had 13 points and seven assists, Briana Vaden and Kristina Prange each had 12, and Gabby Flinchum scored five.

Deyahnna Styles led WVSU (5-11, 3-8) with 20 points. Shealyn Shafer had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Trina Current and Alexus Hobbs each scored 12.

Wheeling Jesuit 55, Notre Dame 49 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit won for the fourth time in five games after picking up a 55-49 win over Notre Dame on Saturday at the McDonough Center. The Cardinals outscored the Falcons 16-3 in the final five minutes of the game.

Jaila Bryant led all scorers with 20 points and added eight rebounds to lead WJU (10-5, 7-4). Breanna Butler contributed 14 points and Jaana Motton finished with 12.

Notre Dame (11-7, 7-5) shot just 29% from the field and Martha Nagbe was the only player to reach double figures with 10 points.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   West Virginia earns last-second win over TCU

Juwan Staten and Devin Williams each scored 18 points, and the 18th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers survived a wild overtime period to beat the TCU Horned Frogs 86-85 on Saturday.

With seven seconds to go in the extra period, Daxter Miles Jr. hit a go-ahead 3-point shot for the Mountaineers to give them their first lead since regulation, but Trey Zeigler put TCU back on top by hitting a jumper with a second left.

Jevon Carter then got behind the Horned Frogs’ defense on the inbounds pass, and after being fouled attempting a layup as time expired, hit a pair of free throws to send West Virginia to the win.

“I have no comment on that,“ said TCU coach Trent Johnson. “I’m going to take the high road and my team won’t make excuses.“

Williams pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and Staten handed out 12 assists. Jonathan Holton added 15 points and eight boards for the Mountaineers (16-3, 4-2 Big 12).

TCU (14-5, 1-5) received a game-high 22 points from Kyan Anderson, but it was his foul that sent Carter to the line for the winning free throws. Charles Hill Jr. chipped in 13 points and Kenrich Williams and Amric Fields each contributed 11.

Chase Connor’s 3-pointer with nine minutes to play in the second half extended West Virginia’s lead to 58-50, but the Horned Frogs went on an 8-0 run to draw even for the first time in the second half. Hill’s triple cut their deficit to four, and a pull-up jumper from Chris Washburn tied the game with 6:23 left.

After the teams traded leads several times late in regulation, Zeigler penetrated and hit a jumper to put TCU up 72-70 with eight seconds to play. At the other end, Miles fought through contact and had just enough on his layup to tie the game.

Zeigler almost found Anderson streaking into the frontcourt with a long inbounds pass, but it ended up out of bounds to give the Mountaineers one more chance. Devin Williams received the ball in the paint, but missed the layup as time expired.

Karviar Shepherd’s dunk on the first possession of OT gave the Frogs an early advantage, and they led by as many as five when Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 1:20 to go to make the score 80-75.

Miles’ first triple of overtime pulled West Virginia within 82-81 with 30 seconds left, and Kenrich Williams only hitting 1-of-2 from the line at the other end gave the Mountaineers life before Miles’ go-ahead trey.

“When Juwan passed to him and he made that, he proved he’s in the gym,“ said Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins. “They know who’s in the gym, just like I do.“

Devin Williams’ dunk with a little more than two minutes to go in the first half gave West Virginia its largest lead of the game at 34-25. The Horned Frogs went into the locker room on a 10-2 run, however, to trail 36-35 at the break. Anderson scored eight of those points, including a 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt before the shot clock expired.

Game Notes

West Virginia swept the season series and is now 6-0 all-time against TCU ... The Frogs have lost 28 straight road games against ranked opponents ... West Virginia shot just 40.8% ... West Virginia’s rifle team was presented with its national championship rings during the game ... The Mountaineers travel to Kansas State on Tuesday, while TCU returns home to face Kansas on Wednesday.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Baylor shuts down struggling Oklahoma

Lester Medford scored 17 points and dished out five assists to help No. 21 Baylor exact some revenge on slumping Oklahoma with a 69-58 victory over the 19th-ranked Sooners.

Kenny Chery went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in a 13-point effort for the Bears (15-4, 3-3 Big 12), who turned the tables on the Sooners to reverse a 73-63 loss in Norman earlier this month.

Oklahoma held Baylor to a 37.3 field goal percentage in the previous meeting, but the Sooners shot just 38.7% in Saturday’s rematch to fall for the fourth time in five games.

Buddy Hield, the Big 12’s leading scorer, went 0-for-7 on 3-point tries and 6- of-17 overall to finish with 12 points for Oklahoma (12-7, 3-4). The Sooners managed only a 6-of-24 rate from long distance.

Oklahoma also had to deal with limited duty from its second-leading scorer, Isaiah Cousins, who played just 18 minutes and sat out most of the second half with an injured wrist.

►   Texas Tech pulls off upset over Iowa State

Devaugntah Williams had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead Texas Tech in a 78-73 win over No. 9 Iowa State on Saturday.

Toddrick Gotcher scored 17 points, while Robert Turner gave 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Raiders (11-9, 1-6 Big 12), who snapped a six-game losing streak.

Monte Morris scored 20 points, Matt Thomas added 12 and Georges Niang gave 10 for the Cyclones (14-4, 4-2), who had won their previous two coming in.

Texas Tech held a double-digit lead until Thomas hit a pair of free throws and Jameel McKay slammed the ball home to make it a 67-58 game with under five minutes to play.

After Aaron Ross hit 1-of-2 from the line to give the Red Raiders a 72-62 advantage, Morris and Dustin Hogue were each fouled while making a basket, hitting the ensuing free throw to make it a four-point gave with 1 1/2 minutes left.

Following a pair of free throws from Turner, Niang made a 3 to get Iowa State within three, but Gotcher followed with two from the line.

Thomas then hit a bank shot with 22.7 seconds to play, and a turnover from Ross gave Iowa State have a chance to tie the game. Morris, though, missed a 3-pointer, and Williams hit two free throws at the other end to seal the win.

With the score close early in the first half, Gotcher hit three straight 3- pointers to kick off a 15-0 run that was capped on a Ross layup for a 23-8 lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

The Red Raiders maintained a healthy lead throughout the first half, but Thomas hit a pair of 3s to close the opening 20 minutes and cut the Cyclones’ deficit to 36-25 at the break.

Iowa State used and 8-0 run early in the second half to cut its deficit to six, but Texas Tech responded with an 11-3 run and held a 50-36 advantage with 13 minutes to play.

Game Notes

Iowa State hosts Texas on Monday ... Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma on Wednesday ... The Cyclones still lead the series, 14-12, and the two schools will meet at Iowa State on February 07.

►   Kansas tops Texas for key road win

Cliff Alexander led four Jayhawks in double figures with 15 points and No. 11 Kansas played a clean second half to take down 17th-ranked Texas 75-62 for a key road victory that could help determine the Big 12 regular season.

Perry Ellis and Brannen Greene scored 14 points apiece and Frank Mason III had 12 for Kansas, which committed all three of its season-low three turnovers in the first half.

Alexander scored all of his points and grabbed all nine of his rebounds in the final 21:54 of the game.

“We worked the middle,“ he said. “That’s what coach told us, ‘Just get the ball to the middle, it’s open every time.‘ That’s what we did, just got the ball to the middle and got easy shots.“

Kansas (16-3, 5-1 Big 12) has won two straight since dropping a road game against Iowa State.

The Jayhawks have won or held a share of a remarkable 10 straight Big 12 regular-season crowns, but many believed Texas had a chance to threaten that run this season.

Isaiah Taylor had 23 points to pace the Longhorns (14-5, 3-3), who have dropped three of their last five games.

“It did feel like we let just a couple (of possessions) get away from us,“ said Taylor. “They beat us to loose balls, they got in transition some, got offensive rebounds and just hit open shots. They came out and played man (defense) the second half and I mean, we tried to respond to it, but we couldn’t respond fully.“

Texas opened the game with an 11-2 run, but 3-pointers from Wayne Selden and Greene on consecutive possessions before the first media timeout had Kansas right back in the game. Mason assisted on both 3s.

Greene then scored five straight during a 9-0 run as Kansas climbed in front.

Cameron Ridley netted five in a row to tie the game at 28 late in the first half, but Alexander answered with a pair of dunks and Kansas led 32-30 at halftime.

Myles Turner hit a jumper 5 1/2 minutes into the second half, giving the Longhorns a 44-39 lead, but it quickly disappeared. Alexander threw down a jam on a feed from Perry Ellis, then kicked out to Selden for a 3 from the left wing. Greene followed with another triple, and the Jayhawks led by three.

It was 53-50 with seven minutes to play when Greene’s well-contested 3-ball from the corner sparked a 9-2 burst that just about put the game out of reach.

Kansas went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final two minutes to seal it.

Game Notes

Kansas has won seven of the last eight games in the series ... Kansas’ bench produced 31 points compared to just eight from the Texas reserves ... Texas went 3-for-18 from 3-point range ... Jonathan Holmes scored 14 points for UT ... The teams will meet again in Lawrence on February 28.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 58, South Carolina 43

Devin Booker scored 18 points and top- ranked Kentucky put forth a dominating defensive effort to stay unbeaten with a 58-43 victory over South Carolina on Saturday. Aaron Harrison added 13 points for the Wildcats (19-0, 6-0 SEC), who held South Carolina to just 22.6 percent from the field and blocked nine shots. Kentucky is off to its best start since the 2009-10 squad also opened the season with 19 straight wins. Sindarius Thornwell was South Carolina’s lone player in double figures with 14 points. The Gamecocks (10-8, 1-5) have lost three straight and five of their last six games.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 91, Pacific 60

Przemek Karnowski and Gary Bell Jr. each had 13 points to lead No. 3 Gonzaga to a 91-60 rout of Pacific on Saturday. Silas Melson scored 12 points, while Byron Wesley added 11 points and Domantas Sabonis gave 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (20-1, 9-0 WCC), who have ripped off 13 straight wins. Eric Thompson and T.J. Wallace each scored 12 points for the Tigers (10-11, 2-7), who have lost their past two.

Final Score: (6) Wisconsin 69, Michigan 64 (OT)

Frank Kaminsky had 22 points and nine rebounds as No. 6 Wisconsin held on for a 69-64 overtime victory against Michigan on Saturday. Sam Dekker scored 15 points, Bronson Koenig added 13 and Nigel Hayes gave 10 for the Badgers (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who have won their past three. Derrick Walton Jr. scored 17 points with five rebounds and Zak Irvin donated 12 points for the Wolverines (12-8, 5-3), who had won their previous two coming in.

Final Score: (7) Arizona 73, California 50

Stanley Johnson finished with 18 points and nine rebounds as No. 7 Arizona cruised to a 73-50 victory over California on Saturday. Dusan Ristic scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and Kaleb Tarczewski added 10 for the Wildcats (18-2, 6-1 Pac-12), who have won their last four games. David Kravish netted 16 points with 11 rebounds, Jordan Mathews also provided 16 points and Tyrone Wallace chipped in with 13 in the Golden Bears’ (11-9, 1-6) sixth straight loss.

Final Score: Texas Tech 78, (9) Iowa State 73

Devaugntah Williams had 22 points and six rebounds to lead Texas Tech in a 78-73 win over No. 9 Iowa State on Saturday. Toddrick Gotcher scored 17 points, while Robert Turner gave 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Raiders (11-9, 1-6 Big 12), who snapped a six-game losing streak. Monte Morris scored 20 points, Matt Thomas added 12 and Georges Niang gave 10 for the Cyclones (14-4, 4-2), who had won their previous two coming into the game.

Final Score: (11) Kansas 75, (17) Texas 62

Cliff Alexander led four Jayhawks in double figures with 15 points and No. 11 Kansas played a clean second half to take down 17th-ranked Texas 75-62 for a key road victory that could help determine the Big-12 regular season. Perry Ellis and Brannen Greene scored 14 points apiece and Frank Mason III had 12 for Kansas, which committed all three of its season-low three turnovers in the first half. Alexander scored all of his points and grabbed all nine of his rebounds in the final 21:54 of the game. Kansas (16-3, 5-1 Big 12) has won two straight since dropping a road game against Iowa State. The Cyclones, who are in action this afternoon against Texas Tech, also have one conference loss. The Jayhawks have won or held a share of a remarkable 10 straight Big 12 regular-season crowns, but many believed Texas had a chance to threaten that run this season. Isaiah Taylor had 23 points to pace the Longhorns (14-5, 3-3), who have dropped three of their last five games.

Final Score: (15) North Carolina 78, Florida State 74

Brice Johnson posted 18 points and 14 rebounds as 15th-ranked North Carolina kept up its strong recent play with a 78-74 victory over Florida State. Marcus Paige added 19 points and Justin Jackson put up 14 in the Tar Heels’ ninth triumph in their last 10 outings. North Carolina (16-4, 6-1 ACC) will take a five-game win streak into a difficult upcoming stretch against Syracuse, Louisville and No. 2 Virginia. Florida State (10-10, 2-5) hung tough for most of the afternoon, with Xavier Rathan-Mayes’ career-high 35 points keeping the Seminoles in it, before ultimately being dealt its fourth loss in its last five in ACC play.

Final Score: (18) West Virginia 86, TCU 85 (OT)

Juwan Staten and Devin Williams each scored 18 points, and the 18th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers survived a wild overtime period to beat the TCU Horned Frogs 86-85 on Saturday. With seven seconds to go in the extra period, Daxter Miles Jr. hit a go-ahead 3- point shot for the Mountaineers to give them their first lead since regulation, but Trey Zeigler put TCU back on top with a second left. Jevon Carter got behind the defense on the inbounds pass, and after being fouled attempting a layup as time expired, hit a pair of free throws to send West Virginia to the win. Williams pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, and Staten handed out 12 assists. Jonathan Holton added 15 points and eight boards for the Mountaineers (16-3, 4-2 Big 12). TCU (14-5, 1-5) received a game-high 22 points from Kyan Anderson, but it was his foul that sent Carter to the line for the winning free throws. Charles Hill Jr. chipped in 13 points, and Kenrich Williams and Amric Fields each contributed 11.

Final Score: (21) Baylor 69, (19) Oklahoma 58

Lester Medford scored 17 points and dished out five assists to help No. 21 Baylor exact some revenge on slumping Oklahoma with a 69-58 victory over the 19th-ranked Sooners. Kenny Chery went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in a 13-point effort for the Bears (15-4, 3-3 Big 12), who turned the tables on the Sooners to reverse a 73-63 loss in Norman earlier this month. Oklahoma held Baylor to a 37.3 field goal percentage in the previous meeting, but the Sooners shot just 38.7 percent in Saturday’s rematch to fall for the fourth time in five games. Buddy Hield, the Big 12’s leading scorer, went 0-for-7 on 3-point tries and 6-of-17 overall to finish with 12 points for Oklahoma (12-7, 3-4). The Sooners managed only a 6-of-24 rate from long distance.

Final Score: (22) Dayton 63, Richmond 60

Dyshawn Pierre scored 21 points and 22nd- ranked Dayton survived a challenge from Richmond to earn a 63-60 victory in an Atlantic 10 clash. Kendall Pollard added 14 points, including a clutch hook shot with 2:16 remaining that snapped a 55-55 tie. Dayton (16-3, 6-1 A-10) stayed in front the rest of the way to avoid a second straight conference loss and extend its home win streak to 16 games. Richmond (10-9, 3-3) was able to overcome a 37-27 halftime deficit to hold a slim lead with three minutes left, but couldn’t hold it down the stretch en route to a 10th consecutive road defeat. T.J. Cline netted 10 of his 14 points in the second half for the Spiders, with Terry Allen, ShawnDre’ Jones and Alonzo Nelson- Ododa each finishing with 11 points in the loss.

Final Score: Purdue 67, (25) Iowa 63

Rapheal Davis scored a career-high 24 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute, and Purdue got a boost from seldom-used wing Basil Smotherman to knock off No. 25 Iowa on Saturday, 67-63. With Kendall Stephens’ left hand heavily wrapped because of a broken finger, Smotherman saw extended minutes and took advantage, providing 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and pulling down the game’s two biggest defensive rebounds. Purdue held a two-point lead following Davis’ 3 with 50 seconds remaining, and Smotherman flew in to grab Mike Gesell’s missed jumper at the other end. After he split a pair from the foul line, Peter Jok launched a triple and again Smotherman went up high to haul it in. He made 1-of-2 from the line once more, producing the final tally. Purdue’s center tandem of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas added 23 points between them on 9-of-11 from the field. The win snaps a 13-game losing streak against ranked teams for Purdue (12-8, 4-3 Big Ten). Iowa nearly overcame the loss of star forward Aaron White thanks to late heroics by Gesell and a dominant effort on the glass, but ultimately fell short. White, Iowa’s leading scorer and rebounder, left the game in the first half with a right shoulder stinger. Gesell scored 12 of his 18 points in the game’s final six minutes, and Gabriel Olaseni pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end. Iowa (13-7, 4-3) had 24 offensive rebounds as a team.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Saturday, January 24)

Final Score: Charlotte 76, New York 71

In a game with each team missing their leading scorer, the Charlotte Hornets came from behind to top the New York Knicks, 76-71, on Saturday. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony rested after playing 42 minutes in a 113-106 win over Orlando on Friday, while Charlotte’s Kemba Walker sat out with knee soreness. Stepping into the lineup to replace the injured Walker, Brian Roberts led the Hornets with 17 points on their way to their fourth win in five games. Gerald Henderson added 14 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 10. Al Jefferson blocked seven shots to tie a career high. The Knicks’ season-long three-game winning streak came to an end despite 25 points, six rebounds and five assists from Tim Hardaway Jr. Lance Thomas chipped in 16 points, and Cole Aldrich had 13 rebounds.

Final Score: Milwaukee 101, Detroit 86

O.J. Mayo had 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks rolled to a 101-86 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. The Bucks scored the first 10 points of the third quarter after leading by 14 at halftime and went ahead by as many as 30 in the frame. Things were even worse than that for the Pistons, who lost point guard Brandon Jennings near the end of the third to what the team called a left leg injury. Jennings was guarding Brandon Knight on an inbounds pass and didn’t appear to make much contact with the Bucks guard before going down. He was helped off the court and into a wheelchair behind the basket. Khris Middleton added 16 points and Knight had 14 for the Bucks, who snapped a two-game losing streak and ended 2-2 on a four-game homestand.

Final Score: Memphis 101, Philadelphia 83

Zach Randolph registered 17 points with 14 rebounds to help the Memphis Grizzlies in a 101-83 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. Jeff Green led the Grizzlies with 18 points and Vince Carter added 13 points off the bench. Memphis, which defeated the Sixers 120-115 in overtime on Dec. 13, has taken five straight against them in the series. Jerami Grant deposited a career-high 16 points and Michael Carter-Williams posted 10 points with six assists for Philadelphia, which has dropped five straight games overall.

Final Score: Utah 108, Brooklyn 73

Gordon Hayward scored 24 points and the Utah Jazz rolled to a 108-73 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Trey Burke added 19 points and Joe Ingles scored 16 for the Jazz, who have won two in a row and three of their last five. Jarrett Jack had 16 points to lead the Nets, who have dropped two in a row and 10 of their last 12. The Nets played for the first time since learning Friday that they will be without Mirza Teletovic for the rest of the season after the forward was found to have multiple blood clots in his lungs.

Final Score: Portland 103, Washington 96

LaMarcus Aldridge was unexpectedly in the Portland lineup on Saturday night and the All-Star power forward helped his team snap a two-game losing streak. Aldridge scored 26 points with nine rebounds in the Trail Blazers’ 103-96 win over the Washington Wizards. The Blazers announced earlier in the day that Aldridge will hold off having surgery on a torn radial collateral ligament in his left thumb. He was originally slated for surgery next week and expected to miss 6-8 weeks. That decision proved to be beneficial for Portland. Damian Lillard deposited 20 points with seven assists and Wesley Matthews added 19 points in the win. John Wall led the Wizards with 25 points and nine assists, while Paul Pierce registered 19 points and Bradley Beal chipped in with 16 points.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Athletics agree to 1-year deal with Abad

The Oakland Athletics and left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad agreed to terms on a one-year contract Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Abad finished his first season in the Bay Area with a 2-4 record and career- low 1.57 earned run average over 69 appearances.

The 29-year-old native of the Dominican Republic held opponents to a .175 batting average and right-handed hitters batted just .162 against him.

Over five major-league seasons with Houston, Washington and Oakland, Abad is 3-18 with a 3.61 ERA in 179 2/3 innings over 196 games.

►   Cubs legend Banks dies

Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame first baseman and shortstop Ernie Banks passed away Friday at the age of 83.

WGN in Chicago reports Banks died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dubbed “Mr. Cub,“ Banks suited up on Chicago’s North Side from 1953-71, slugging 512 home runs over 19 seasons. A 14-time All-Star, he was elected to Cooperstown in 1977.

“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time,“ Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said. “He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known.

“Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good- hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.“

Banks was also active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. In 2013, he a was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to citizens in the United States.

He was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959. Banks hit 47 home runs with 129 RBI in 1958 and followed up with 45 homers and 143 RBI in 1959.

During his career, Banks hit 512 home runs, 277 of which came at shortstop. That still stands as the most in the National League for a shortstop. He hit .274 and drove in 1,636 runs.

Banks also became the first African American to manage a major league team on May 08, 1973 when he took over for the ejected Whitey Lockman. He was also the first player in Cubs history to have his number retired in 1982 and was voted to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999. He was the first Cub to be honored with a statue at Wrigley Field on March 31, 2008.

Banks expressed his love of baseball in two catchphrases, “It’s a great day for baseball” and also “Let’s play two” for his expressive wish to play a doubleheader each day.

He is the Cubs’ leader in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), plate appearances (10,395) and extra-base hits (1,009).

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL’s finest gather in Columbus for All-Star Game

It comes a few years later than expected but Columbus is finally getting its chance to shine as the host of the NHL All-Star Game.

Sunday’s exhibition at Nationwide Arena marks the league’s 60th mid-season showcase and the first since Ottawa hosted No. 59 back on January 29, 2012.

The Blue Jackets originally were slated to host All-Star weekend in 2013 but the event was scrapped thanks to the lockout-shortened season. The 2014 Winter Olympics pushed the return of All-Star festivities back another year, but despite the delays John Davidson says the franchise is ready for its big moment.

“It’s our time to show off to the world and we’re ready to do it,“ Davidson, the Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, recently told his team’s web site. “Our group is really proud to put it on and we hope everyone really enjoys themselves. That’s the whole idea here.“

Today’s clash pits Team Toews against Team Foligno, a pair of squads picked at the All-Star Fantasy draft on Friday evening. Team Foligno will serve as the de facto fan favorites, as the club is not only captained by Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, but the team also made Columbus star Ryan Johansen the first overall pick on Friday.

Sergei Bobrovsky would have likely have been plucked up by Team Foligno as well, but the Blue Jackets franchise goaltender had to pull out of All-Star weekend due to a groin injury.

The second overall pick, for Team Toews, went to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, but Kessel was later dealt to Team Foligno in exchange for winger Tyler Seguin.

“It was really fun. I was nervous going into it, but I had a great time with it,“ Foligno said of the All-Star fantasy draft. “The guys made it really easy. The personalities really came out. It was a lot of fun.“

Foligno’s side won Saturday’s NHL All-Star Skills competition, beating Team Toews, 25-19.

Jonathan Toews, of course, is the captain of Team Toews. The Chicago Blackhawks forward is joined by assistant captains Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.

Toews will face off against Chicago teammate Patrick Kane on Sunday, as the American winger served as one of Foligno’s assistant captains along with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

However, Toews did snatch up a pair of fellow Blackhawks at Friday’s draft, picking defenseman Brent Seabrook and goaltender Corey Crawford. Kane’s side, however, wound up with Chicago blueliner Duncan Keith.

Including Getzlaf and Nash, Team Toews ended up with the following additional forwards: Buffalo forward Zemgus Girgensons, the 21-year-old who unexpectedly led all players in All-Star fan voting; Flyers winger and NHL leading scorer Jakub Voracek, Islanders captain John Tavares, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, Bruins two-way centerman Patrice Bergeron, veteran forward Patrik Elias of the Devils, Lightning center Tyler Johnson along with Calder Trophy candidate and Nashville center Filip Forsberg.

Shea Weber (Nashville), Panthers rookie blueliner Aaron Ekblad, Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Mark Giordano from the Calgary Flames and Hurricanes d-man Justin Faulk round out the defense for Team Toews, while goaltenders Jaroslav Halak (Islanders) and Roberto Luongo (Canucks) will share the crease with Crawford.

Additional forwards for Team Foligno are centers Anze Kopitar from Los Angeles and Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay, Flyers captain Claude Giroux, wingers Bobby Ryan of the Senators and Radim Vrbata from the Canucks, Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin and Oilers pivot Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Led by Keith, the Team Foligno blue line also boasts Dustin Byfuglien of Winnipeg, re-converted backliner Brent Burns from San Jose along with youngsters Kevin Shattenkirk from St. Louis and Arizona’s Oliver Ekman- Larsson. Montreal’s Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury of Pittsburgh and Brian Elliott from the Blues will serve as goaltenders for Team Foligno.

Predators head coach Peter Laviolette will be in charge of Toews’ group while Los Angeles bench boss Darryl Sutter of the defending Stanley Cup champions will guide Foligno’s picks on Sunday.

►   Bruins to host Canadiens in 2016 Winter Classic

Another heated rivalry will be featured in the 2016 Winter Classic, as the NHL announced Saturday that the Boston Bruins will host the Montreal Canadiens in the next edition of the outdoor showcase.

The longtime enemies will play next January 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the 68,756-seat home of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

Boston will become the first team to host the Winter Classic twice. The Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers played the 2010 contest at Fenway Park.

Montreal, meanwhile, has yet to play in the league’s featured event and will become just the second Canadian team to take part. The Toronto Maple Leafs played the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in 2014.

The Bruins and Canadiens are two of the NHL’s Original Six teams and have a storied history that includes last spring’s seven-game playoff series won by Montreal.

Also Saturday, the NHL announced two other outdoor games for next season as part of the league’s “Stadium Series.“

On February 21, 2016, the Minnesota Wild will host the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Six days later, the Red Wings will visit the Colorado Avalanche at Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball.

Minnesota and Colorado will take part in an outdoor game for the first time, while the Blackhawks and Red Wings have each played in the Winter Classic twice. Chicago played at Washington in this year’s Winter Classic.

►   World Cup of Hockey to return in 2016

The NHL announced the return of the World Cup of Hockey after a 12-year absence.

The two-week tournament, a joint effort of the NHL, NHL Players Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, features eight teams and will take place in September 2016 in Toronto.

“We are thrilled to partner with the NHLPA in planning and producing what we expect will be the world’s best international hockey tournament,“ said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday. “The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will highlight not only our global reach, but also the skill and passion of the world’s best athletes. We would like to thank our international partners—the IIHF and their members—for their cooperation in helping to make this event a reality.“

The last World Cup took place in 2004 when Canada beat Finland in the final for the championship. The first tournament was held in 1996. The United States won that event, beating Canada in a best-of-three final.

Six countries—Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic—will take part in the 2016 edition. The other two teams will be called Team Europe and Team North American Youngstars.

The Team Europe squad will be made up of players from European nations other than Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic, allowing players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Slovenia to fill out the roster.

The North American Youngstars will be selected from a pool of the best young players aged 23 and under from Canada and the United States.

“We expect the 2016 World Cup of Hockey to be the most competitive tournament of its kind, with the world’s top players and best athletes,“ said NHLPA executive director Don Fehr. “We look forward to working with the NHL, and the IIHF and its federations on this extraordinary event. We expect that this is the initial step in a series of events that will elevate our game over the next few years, including a World Cup in 2020.“

Each of the eight teams will feature 23 players—20 skaters and three goalies. The teams will be split into two groups and play a round-robin competition before moving on to a one-game semifinal round. The final round will be a best-of-three format between the two semifinal winners.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Djokovic, Wawrinka roll on in Melbourne

Former champions Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka continued to plow through the top half of the draw at the Australian Open with third-round wins Saturday.

The top-seeded Djokovic had his first minor test of the fortnight with a first-set tiebreaker, then rolled from there to capture a 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Wawrinka, the defending champion and this year’s fourth seed, cruised to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen.

Djokovic has yet to lose a set in his first three matches. The four-time champ barely broke a sweat this week before Saturday, dropping a total of 14 games in his first two outings.

Verdasco, though, made him work in the first set. A semifinalist in 2009, the 31st-seeded Spaniard matched Djokovic for 60 minutes before finally faltering in the first-set tiebreak. The Serb then broke once in each of the next two sets to finish in 2 hours and 21 minutes.

“It was the turning point probably, winning the tiebreaker as close as it was,“ said Djokovic. “I thought it was a good match. It was a big challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player. Somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game. I’m glad to go through in straight sets.“

Verdasco slammed 10 aces in the opening set, but did himself in with 28 unforced errors. Djokovic had 12 unforced errors of his own in the first set, but had just 12 more the remainder of the match.

Next up for Djokovic will be Gilles Muller, as the lefty from Luxembourg ousted American John Isner in straight sets, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

Wawrinka ended Djokovic’s three-year run as Aussie Open champ last year in the quarterfinals and went on to capture his first career Grand Slam title. The Swiss veteran has yet to lose a set this week, as well.

On Saturday, Wawrinka blasted 55 winners to just 18 for Nieminen

“It was a really good match from me today,“ said Wawrinka. “I was playing great, tried to be more aggressive than normal.“

A familiar opponent awaits Wawrinka in the fourth round, as Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez advanced Saturday with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 rout of Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. Garcia-Lopez knocked off Wawrinka last year in the first round of the French Open.

“He’s been playing really good,“ said Wawrinka of his fourth-round foe. “I saw him a little bit this tournament. I lost against him last year French Open first round. We had some tough battles in the past. It’s never easy.“

Other winners Saturday included U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, Spain’s David Ferrer and Canada’s Milos Raonic.

The fifth-seeded Nishikori rallied after dropping the first set against American Steve Johnson, pulling out a 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win. Next up for the rising Japanese star will be the ninth-seeded Ferrer, who also went four sets to eliminate France’s Gilles Simon, 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4).

Losses Saturday by Johnson and Isner ended the American men’s hopes in Melbourne.

The eighth-seeded Raonic also eased into the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Germany’s Benjamin Becker and will next play Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. The 12th seed beat Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Fourth-round play starts Sunday with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray among those in action. The third-seeded Nadal will square off against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, while the sixth-seeded Murray will close the night session at Laver Arena against 10th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Andreas Seppi of Italy will try to build off his monstrous upset of Roger Federer, but will likely have the crowd against him when he takes on Aussie Nick Kyrgios. Another unseeded Aussie favorite will also play Sunday when Bernard Tomic faces seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

►   Serena, Venus rally at Aussie Open

The Williams sisters are through to the fourth round at the Australian Open, but both top seed Serena and No. 18 seed Venus had to rally from a set down Saturday.

Serena, a five-time Aussie champion, came back to down 26th-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, topped talented Italian Camila Giorgi, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.

Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova’s struggles continued at the year’s first major championship. American Madison Keys pulled off a 6-4, 7-5 upset, sending the fourth-seeded Kvitova to an early exit for the fifth time in her seven visits to Melbourne.

It was a rough start for Serena, who fell behind 5-2 in the first set, but then won the next two games. Svitolina came back to hold at love the next game to take the set.

The final two sets were completely different, as the 18-time Grand Slam champion and reigning U.S. Open queen won the first four games of the second and throttled her opponent in the third.

“My next match I’m just going to have a longer warmup, more intense warmup. But as long as I was able to come through today, I can always have an opportunity for tomorrow,“ Serena said.

There was a brief opening for Svitolina in the third game of the final set, but she blew a pair of break point chances.

Revenge could be a factor in Serena’s next match. She was the defending champion headed into the 2014 French Open, but lost in the second round to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

Muguruza, the 24th seed here, set up her match with Serena with a win over Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

“It was a good loss,“ Serena said of her loss to Muguruza. “As angry as I was, it was the best loss I had the whole year last year. Had a lot of them. But that one in particular made me realize what I needed to work on. It opened my eyes towards a lot of things.“

Venus was two points away from losing the match to Giorgi, but then rallied. Giorgi double-faulted 16 times.

This will be the first time Venus has reached the round of 16 at a major since Wimbledon 2011.

“It’s definitely been a lot of work and a lot of learning and a lot of perseverance,“ Venus said. “It will continue to be that for me. Just have to come to terms with it.“

Next up for Venus is sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. The Wimbledon runner-up surged past American Varvara Lepchenko, the 30th seed, 6-0, 7-5.

Four Americans are alive in the top half of the draw, as Keys and Madison Brengle will join the Williams sisters in the fourth round.

Keys, coached by three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, came up with the biggest victory of her young career with the stunner against Kvitova. She broke serve twice in the first set and three times in the second, the last for a 6-5 lead before holding to finish the match in an hour and 24 minutes.

“I think my hands are still shaking,“ said the 19-year-old Keys after the match. “I’m really happy that I served that (last) game out so well.“

Keys will next play Brengle, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over fellow American Coco Vandeweghe.

Kvitova has been past the third round just twice at this event, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011 and the semifinals in 2012. She exited in the first round last year after a second-round setback the year before.

“In the end of the day I did better than the last year and the year before, so I need to be happy, but I’m not,“ said Kvitova. “I expect little bit more from this tournament unfortunately.“

Two-time Australian Open champion and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka defeated 25th-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 6-4, 6-4. Unseeded this year, Azarenka will next play 11th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Fourth-round play begins Sunday, featuring second-seeded Maria Sharapova and third-seeded Simona Halep. Sharapova will take on China’s Peng Shuai and Halep will open the night session at Laver Arena against Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer.

Also Sunday, seventh-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard will face Romania’s Irina-Camilia Begu to start the day and 10th-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova will meet Germany’s Julia Goerges.

►   Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 24

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


B.Bryan/M.Bryan (1) defeated C.Berlocq/L.Mayer, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
J.Benneteau/E.Roger-Vasselin (2) defeated S.Giraldo/J.Sousa, 7-5, 6-4
I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) defeated A.Golubev/D.Istomin, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3)
O.Marach/M.Venus defeated A.Peya/B.Soares (5), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
J.Erlich/T.Huey defeated R.Lindstedt/M.Matkowski (9), 6-3, 6-2
P.Herbert/N.Mahut defeated J.Cabal/R.Farah (11), 6-3, 6-4
E.Butorac/S.Groth (12) defeated P.Andujar/D.Brown, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4
A.Bolt/A.Whittington defeated J.Chardy/L.Kubot, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5

►   Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update - January 24

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Fernando Verdasco (31), 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-4
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Jarkko Nieminen, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Kei Nishikori (5) defeated Steve Johnson, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Milos Raonic (8) defeated Benjamin Becker, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
David Ferrer (9) defeated Gilles Simon (18), 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4)
Feliciano Lopez (12) defeated Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
Gilles Muller defeated John Isner (19), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Vasek Pospisil, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4

►   Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update - January 24

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Serena Williams (1) defeated Elina Svitolina (26), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Madison Keys defeated Petra Kvitova (4), 6-4, 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Varvara Lepchenko (30), 6-0, 7-5
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Alize Cornet (19), 7-5, 6-2
Venus Williams (18) defeated Camila Giorgi, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Victoria Azarenka defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25), 6-4, 6-4
Madison Brengle defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-3, 6-2

►   Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 24

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


S.Errani/R.Vinci (1) defeated M.Barthel/M.Minella, 6-0, 6-2
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) defeated D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7) defeated S.Rogers/D.Vekic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9) defeated M.Adamczak/O.Rogowska, 6-3, 6-2
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated T.Babos/K.Mladenovic (10), 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
K.Bertens/J.Larsson defeated A.Medina Garrigues/Y.Shvedova (11), 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated L.Arruabarrena/I.Begu, 6-4, 6-3
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated Z.Diyas/C.Scheepers, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Bad weather postpones Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes

Poor track conditions have forced Laurel Park officials to cancel live racing Saturday for the third time this week.

Maryland Jockey Club vice president and general manager Sal Sinatra announced Friday night that Laurel Park will not conduct its nine-race card on Saturday afternoon, forcing the postponement of the $100,000 Frank Whitely Jr. Stakes for 3-year-olds.

“Given the questionable surface we have had all week with the freeze and thaw and pending sleet and freezing rain tonight it is in the best interest to preserve the racetrack,“ Sinatra said.

Live cards were also canceled Monday and Friday for the same reason.

Sinatra indicated the $100,000 Frank Whitely Jr. Stakes will be run next week.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Thursday, January 29.

Racing has also been canceled at Aqueduct and Parx Racing due to the winter weather conditions. Racing at both tracks is expected to resume Sunday.

►   Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes redrawn for Thursday

Post positions were redrawn for the $100,000 Frank Whitely Jr. Stakes for Thursday after Saturday racing at Laurel Park was canceled due to poor track conditions.

Most of the original nine 3-year-olds have been re-entered for the seven- furlong stakes with trainer Chad Brown taking advantage of the postponement to enter his stakes winning gelding Majestic Affair.

Majestic Affair, owned by James Covello, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable, will break from the far outside post with Kendrick Carmouche keeping his spot in the saddle.

The chestnut 3-year-old won the Frank Capossela Stakes on January 2 at Aqueduct by 5 3/4 lengths. He was second on November 15 in Laurel Park’s James F. Lewis Stakes.

Majestic Affair won his career debut last July at Canterbury Park, but five weeks later was eighth at 5-1 in the Saratoga Special. He came back in October with an allowance victory at Parx Racing. The gray gelding has earned $124,000.

Golden Years, the original 9-5 program favorite, has drawn post 6 with Victor Carrasco again riding. The colt is trained by Rodney Jenkins for Hillwood Stable.

The 3-year-old has made all prior starts at Laurel winning three of four, including the Maryland Million Nursery on October 18 and Marylander Stakes on December 6. He was fourth in the Lewis Stakes.

“He is doing fine. I gave him two or three weeks off after his last start doing nothing but walking and jogging to try to freshen him up. I went a little strong with him at the end of the year,“ Jenkins said. “He might be a hair short for this one but he’ll try real hard. The last work (January 17), we galloped him out 7/8th’s and he got a little tired but I think it helped him. The horse is very intelligent and he picks up on things real quick. If you look into his eyes he is a very, very intelligent and he is one of the best moving horses I have ever had.“

Golden Years has banked $146,760 as he begins his 2015 season.

Here is the field for the Frank Whitely from the rail out: Governmentshutdown, Julian Pimentel; One More Time, Erik Ramirez; Sizzling Quatorze, Angel Serpa; Notional Debt, Sheldon Russell; Bodhisattva, Victor Santiago; Golden Years, Victor Carrasco; Measured, Horacio Karamanos; Mini Cosmo, Frankie Pennington and Majestic Affair, Kendrick Carmouche.

Post time will be approximately 4:27 PM ET.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Grace tops Warren to win Qatar Masters

Branden Grace picked up five strokes over the final seven holes on Saturday and fended off Marc Warren to win the Qatar Masters.

Grace fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to end at 19-under-par 269. The South African, who won for the sixth time on the European Tour, raised his record to 6-0 when owning at least a piece of the 54-hole lead.

“It was a great day, it was a great week. It’s another great trophy to put in the cupboard,“ Grace said. “I got off to great start today, then I fell a bit asleep.“

Warren closed with a his second straight 67 to end one back at minus-18. He had shared the third-round lead with Grace, Bernd Wiesberger and Emiliano Grillo.

Wiesberger posted a 4-under 68 and ended alone in third at 17-under-par 271, while Eddie Pepperell (67) took fourth at minus-16.

Grillo managed a 2-under 70 in the final round at Doha Golf Club and finished at 15-under 273. He was joined there by Byeong-hun An and Gregory Bourdy, who both fired 65s in the final round.

Alejandro Canizares (69) took eighth at minus-14 and Alexander Noren (65) was one stroke further back at 13-under 275.

Grace birdied the first, but followed that with 10 consecutive pars. In that span, he varied from one behind to tied for the lead.

Late in Grace’s run of pars, there was a brief seven-way tie for the lead at minus-14. Wiesberger, who was paired with Grace in the final round, dropped in three straight birdies from the 10th to break free from that pack and move to 16-under.

Grace matched Wiesberger’s birdie at the 12th. Wiesberger ran off five pars in a row from No. 13 to stay at minus-16.

After a par on 13, Grace grabbed a share of the lead as he birdied the 14th. At the short par-4 16th, Grace’s drive stopped five feet from the hole.

The South African poured that in for eagle. Now two clear of the field, Grace parred the 17th and that allowed Warren to join him at minus-18 as Warren birdied the 16th and 17th.

Grace answered at the par-5 closing hole. His third shot rolled over the left edge of the hole and stopped three feet from the cup. He kicked that in for a closing birdie and 19-under.

“The form has been there, and I stuck to my routine this week and I played great, and I managed to come out on top,“ said Grace.

Warren, who was in the final group, had a 25-foot putt to force a playoff, but it stayed above ground.

NOTES: Grace earned 353,257 euros for the win ... Grace won in December at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and has won two of the last four European Tour events ... Henrik Stenson, the 2006 champion, fired a 66 to finish tied for 13th, while Justin Rose carded a 68 to end alongside Stenson at minus-10 ... Last year’s winner Sergio Garcia closed with a 3-under 69 and ended in a tie for 46th ... Stephen Gallacher is expected to defend his title next week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Gilmer Free Press

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FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Football League
Pro Bowl, 8:15 PM - ESPN
National Basketball Association
Miami at Chicago, 1:00 PM - ABC
Oklahoma City at Cleveland, 3:30 PM - ABC
Minnesota at Atlanta, 6:00 PM - FS-North, SportSouth, DSS
Dallas at New Orleans, 6:00 PM - FS-Southwest, New Orleans, DSS
Indiana at Orlando, 6:00 PM - FS-Indiana, Florida, DSS
LA Clippers at Phoenix, 6:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, Arizona, DSS
Detroit at Toronto, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, SportsNet, DSS
Milwaukee at San Antonio, 7:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin, Southwest, DSS
Washington at Denver, 8:00 PM - CSN-DC, Altitude, NBA TV, DSS
Boston at Golden State, 8:00 PM - CSN-New England, Bay, DSS
Houston at LA Lakers, 9:30 PM - ROOT-Southwest, Time Warner, DSS
National Hockey League
All-Star Game, 5:00 PM - NBCSN, CBC
College Basketball
South Florida at Connecticut, 12:00 PM - CBSSN
Boston College at Georgia Tech, 1:00 PM - NESN, RSN,
Virginia at Virginia Tech, 1:00 PM - ACC Network,
Indiana at Ohio State, 1:30 PM - CBS
Rowan at Princeton, 2:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
St. Bonaventure at Rhode Island, 2:00 PM - Ocean State Network
Duke at St. John’s, 2:00 PM - FOX
Cincinnati at UCF, 2:00 PM - CBSSN
Vermont at UMass Lowell, 2:00 PM -
Drake at Wichita State, 2:00 PM -
Seton Hall at Butler, 3:00 PM - FSN, MASN2
Northern Iowa at Illinois State, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Louisville at Pittsburgh, 4:00 PM - CBS
Notre Dame at NC State, 6:30 PM - ESPN U
Belmont at Tennessee State, 6:30 PM - American Sports Net, MASN
Creighton at Villanova, 7:00 PM - FS1
Northwestern at Maryland, 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Washington at Utah, 8:30 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Arkansas at Florida, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Vanderbilt at Alabama, 1:00 PM - FSN,
Lafayette at Lehigh, 1:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia
Georgia at Tennessee, 2:00 PM - SEC Network
Utah at Washington, 2:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Northwestern at Penn State, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wake Forest at Florida State, 2:00 PM -
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Fairfield at Monmouth, 2:00 PM -
Ohio State at Purdue, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Butler at Xavier, 2:30 PM - FS1
Northeastern at Elon, 3:00 PM - TCN-Philadelphia
Illinois State at Missouri State, 3:00 PM -
NC State at Syracuse, 3:00 PM - RSN,
Maryland at Indiana, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Connecticut at Cincinnati, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
Tulane at South Florida, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Kentucky at Missouri, 4:00 PM - SEC Network
Colorado at Washington State, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Oregon State at Arizona State, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Iowa State at Texas, 4:30 PM - FS1
Vermont at UMass Lowell, 4:30 PM -
Duke at North Carolina, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
Miami-Florida at Louisville, 5:00 PM - RSN,
Minnesota at Rutgers, 5:15 PM - Big Ten Network
California at UCLA, 6:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Stanford at USC, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
International Soccer
Juventus FC vs. AC ChievoVerona, 8:55 AM - beIN Sport
Athletic Club vs. Malaga CF, 10:55 AM - beIN Sport
ACF Fiorentina vs. AS Roma, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport
PGA - Humana Challenge, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Mitsubishi Electric Championship, 7:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 3:00 AM - ESPN 2
Australian Open, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2

Sports News   150124

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   4 WVU Football Players Cited for Possession of Marijuana

Four West Virginia University football players were cited for possession of marijuana at a dorm earlier in the week.

According to WVU Police, Xavier Preston, Yodny Cajuste, Jaleel Fields and Dravon Henry were all cited at Lincoln Hall.

Henry, 19, started all 13 games at free safety in the last season. Preston, 18, played in nine games on defense and special teams. Cajuste, 18, and Field, 19, are both redshirt freshmen.

“We are aware of the situation, and the matter will be handled internally,“ said Dana Holgorsen, head football coach.

According to WVU Football Sports Information Director Mike Montoro, the incident will be turned over to student conduct at the University as it is with all students.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NFL: Early evidence supports Pats using deflated balls

The NFL issued a statement Friday regarding its investigation into allegations the New England Patriots used underinflated balls during the AFC Championship Game and said the early evidence supports the initial conclusion but that the process is ongoing.

The Patriots rolled to a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday in a rain-soaked game at Gillette Stadium and reports began to surface in the hours after the contest that balls were not correctly inflated, which would apparently allow for a better grip in inclement weather.

Citing league sources, reported Tuesday night that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots during the game were underinflated by two pounds of air pressure per square inch (PSI).

NFL rules mandate game balls, which are inspected by the referee, be inflated to 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 PSI.

“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games,“ the league said in its statement Friday. “We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay.

“The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.

“While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were underinflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated.

“The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.“

The league said Friday the investigation is being led jointly by NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Wells was the league’s investigator into last season’s bullying scandal involving the Miami Dolphins.

According to the statement Friday, the league began its investigation Sunday night and has already conducted nearly 40 interviews. Game officials and Patriots personnel were among those included in those early discussions, although New England quarterback Tom Brady said Thursday he had not yet been contacted.

On Thursday, both Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed the situation and each denied any wrongdoing.

Belichick was first to speak on Thursday morning and said he was “completely and totally unaware” of the issue, adding he was “shocked” to hear the reports on Monday morning.

Brady on Thursday afternoon said he “didn’t alter the balls in any way” and “would never break the rules.“

The Patriots, who will play Seattle in the Super Bowl, have pledged their full support of the investigation and have made personnel, as well as other information, available to the league.

If the NFL finds the Patriots deflated footballs intentionally, they could be subject to penalties similar to ones levied after the team was found to have videotaped defensive signals used by the New York Jets during a game in September 2007.

Those penalties included a $500,000 fine for Belichick, a $250,000 fine for the team and the loss of a draft pick.

►   Raiders add Tice to coaching staff

Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio continued to build his staff Friday, adding former Vikings head coach Mike Tice to the group.

Tice will coach the offensive line for the Raiders after spending the 2014 season in the same role with the Atlanta Falcons. He was Minnesota’s head coach from 2002-05, compiling a record of 32-33 with a 1-1 record in the playoffs.

The former NFL tight end also worked under Del Rio in Jacksonville, serving as assistant head coach and tight ends coach with the Jaguars from 2006-09.

Del Rio also named Todd Downing as quarterbacks coach, Marcus Robertson as defensive backs coach and Sal Sunseri as linebackers coach.

Downing was Buffalo’s quarterbacks coach last year and also spent three years in the same position with the Detroit Lions. Robertson was the Raiders’ assistant defensive backs coach last year, while Sunseri last coached in the NFL from 2002-08 with Carolina and spent the last two years as a defensive coach at Florida State.

►   Steelers extend P Wing

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed punter Brad Wing to a one-year contract extension on Friday.

Wing punted 61 times over 16 games for 2,668 yards and placed 20 of his attempts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line during his rookie season with the Steelers.

His average of 43.7 yards per punt ranked fifth among first-year punters in franchise history.

The LSU product signed with the Steelers on January 3, 2014 after previously signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft.

►   Ravens plan to release Terrence Cody

The Baltimore Ravens will terminate the contract of nose tackle Terrence Cody after the Super Bowl, the team announced Friday.

Cody was set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10.

Cody is under investigation for animal cruelty, according to the Baltimore Sun. He hasn’t been charged with a crime.

According to multiple sources, the case involves the death of Cody’s dog.

In 2014, Cody played only one game after being on the physically unable to perform list for the first nine weeks of the season.

►   Jets tab Kacy Rodgers as new defensive coordinator

The New York Jets and new head coach Todd Bowles continued crafting the coaching staff Friday by hiring Kacey Rodgers as defensive coordinator and Bobby April as special teams coordinator.

Rodgers served as the Dolphins’ defensive line coach over the past seven seasons. During his tenure with Miami, Rodgers’ defensive lines helped compile 287 sacks, which was the third most in the NFL during that span.

Bowles previously coached with Rodgers in Dallas (2005-07) and Miami (2008-11).

April will join his eighth NFL team after spending the past two seasons as Oakland’s special teams coordinator. He also served in the same capacity with Philadelphia (2010-12), Buffalo (2004-09), St. Louis (2001-03), Pittsburgh (1994-95) and Atlanta (1991-93).

The Jets also hired Mike Caldwell as assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach, Mark Collins as outside linebackers coach, Joe Danna as defensive backs coach, Karl Dorrell as wide receivers coach and Robby Brown as offensive quality control coach.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 23)

Doddridge County 65     Clay-Battelle 35

#7 Williamstown 71     Tyler Consolidated 37

Robert C. Byrd 49     Liberty 31

Saint Marys 53     South Harrison 43

Parkersburg South 90     University 76

Williamstown 71     Tyler Consolidated 37

Wood County Christian 30     Cross Lanes Christian 26

Nicholas County vs. Liberty Raleigh ——Postponed

Parkersburg vs. Woodrow Wilson ——Postponed

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 23)

#7 Clay County 53     #8 Gilmer County 47

Roane County 77     Calhoun County 23

Webster County 48     Doddridge County 36
Lewis County 58     Elkins 44

Ritchie County 59     St. Marys 49

Robert C. Byrd 49     Liberty Harrison 31

#9 Bridgeport 39     East Fairmont 17

#2 North Marion 73     Lincoln 53

Wood County Christian 42     Cross Lanes Christian 36

Nicholas County vs. PikeView ——Postponed

Philip Barbour vs. Preston ——Postponed

Woodrow Wilson vs. Parkersburg ——Postponed

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Mountaineers try to sweep away Texas loss by sweeping TCU

In the week since absorbing a 27-point beatdown at Texas, the program’s worst loss in 24 months, West Virginia’s players have recalculated and reassessed what made them a top-25 team.

“We’ve got to bring back that pride and that energy that we had,” said forward Devin Williams. “It’s a reality check.”

TCU (14-4, 1-4), after also being dealt some reality by Texas on Monday night, visits the No. 18 Mountaineers (15-3, 3-2) on Saturday afternoon. It’s the first sellout of the season in Morgantown thanks partly to a “Family Day” promotion that lumps four tickets, hot dogs and sodas into a $60 package.

West Virginia already beat TCU 78-67 in Fort Worth, a scheduling quirk of the Big 12 round-robin that has these teams completing their home-and-home series within a three-week span. Considering the Mountaineers took the first meeting with Juwan Staten too ill to dress, this rematch might seem elementary. But the sting from a 77-50 loss in Austin reminds the Mountaineers otherwise.

“Bouncing back from a loss shouldn’t be hard,” coach Bob Huggins said Friday. “We don’t have a lot of character if we don’t do that. And I think we do have character.”

The 24.1% shooting against the Longhorns’ 2-3 zone marked the worst game for West Virginia since making only 20% in a 62-39 loss to Cincinnati in 2008. (The 13 field goals were the lowest by WVU since 1951, two years before Huggins was born.) Surely more zone defense awaits the Mountaineers, whose 3-point accuracy ranks 294th out of 351 Division I teams.

TCU doesn’t possess the length that Texas does, yet it ranks fourth nationally in field-goal defense at 34.7 percent—just behind Kentucky, Virginia and, yes, Texas.

“I know we can’t underestimate them,” said freshman guard Jevon Carter. “We’ve got to play as hard as we do each and every other game.”

No. 18 West Virginia (15-3, 3-2) vs. TCU (14-4, 1-4)

Tipoff: 2 PM in Morgantown (ESPNU)

Scouting the Frogs: TCU snapped a 23-game conference losing streak by winning 62-42 at Texas Tech last Saturday. Some 48 hours later the Frogs fell 66-48 at home to Texas. … Point guard Kyan Anderson (13.4 points) is the lone double-digit scorer for TCU this season but produced just two points vs. Texas. The senior scored 19 in the first meeting vs. West Virginia. … Pitt transfer Trey Ziegler produced 17 points, six rebounds and four assists against the Mountaineers, but fouled out and committed a season-high four turnovers. … TCU commits 20.6 fouls per game, second only to WVU (22.3) in the Big 12. … The Frogs score 70.4 per game while WVU averages 77.4, but TCU is the second-most efficient offense in the conference and West Virginia ranks fourth. Both squads average 1.09 points per possession, tied for second in the league.

Coaching the Frogs: Trent Johnson (260-233 in 16 seasons overall, 34-47 in third year at TCU) is aiming to make the Frogs competitive, a difficult charge considering they are 3-40 in Big 12 play. That includes five losses to West Virginia. … Johnson previously reached a combined five NCAA tournaments at Nevada, Stanford and LSU.

Mountaineer musings: Juwan Staten (15 points, 4 assists, 3.1 rebounds) was among 25 players named to the Lute Olson Award midseason watch list this week. He’s in a 2-of-16 slump the past two games, which Huggins attributed to the point guard getting fewer shooting reps while dealing with sickness. “Now Chase Conner can walk in the gym after not being in there for three weeks and make shots,” the coach said. “Wannie doesn’t have great technique but what he has is a will to practice and practice and practice. I think he’ll be fine. It’s a long, long year.” … Jonathan Holton (9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds) hasn’t scored in double figures in six games. After fouling out in eight minutes against Texas, Holton’s 3.2 fouls per game are second in the Big 12 to K-State’s Nino Williams (3.5). … Devin Williams (10.7 points,  7.6 rebounds) is coming off a season-worst five turnovers at Texas—a performance in which he fouled out and snapped a string of four double-digit scoring games. … WVU has a healthy national lead in forced turnovers (22.1 per game) over runner-ups Eastern Kentucky (20.5) and Stephen F. Austin (18.6).

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 23)

Final Score: (16) VCU 63, Saint Louis 61

Treveon Graham scored the game-winning basket with 0.9 seconds remaining as No. 16 VCU edged Saint Louis 63-61 on Friday night. Graham finished with 21 points and six rebounds and Briante Weber scored 15 points for the Rams (16-3, 6-0 A-10), who have won 11 straight games. Milik Yarbrough had 15 points and six boards and Austin McBroom netted 12 points for the Billikens (9-10, 1-5), who have lost six straight games against ranked opponents.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Nets’ Teletovic has blood clots in lungs

Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has been diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs and will miss the remainder of the season.

Teletovic left Thursday’s game against the Clippers and was taken to a Los Angeles hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Tests, including a CT scan, revealed the blood clots.

The Nets on Friday said Teletovic will remain hospitalized and will undergo further tests while also being administered blood thinners. The use of blood thinners will force him to sit out the rest of the campaign.

In 40 games this season, Teletovic averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. The third-year pro owns career averages of 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 165 games.

►   Nuggets’ Lawson arrested on DUI charge

Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of drunk driving.

According to the Denver Sheriff Department, Lawson also faces speeding and careless driving charges. He was released from jail after posting $1,500 bond and has a court date set for January 27.

The Nuggets released a statement on Friday, saying they were aware of the incident.

“We have been made aware of an incident involving Ty Lawson early this morning,“ the statement read. “Per team policy and out of respect for the legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.“

KUSA-TV in Denver reported that Lawson was arrested at 1:19 AM MT. He was pulled over by police after driving 60 mph in a 35-mph zone and failed a field sobriety test.

Lawson is Denver’s leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points in 41 games this season. He is also third in the league in assists, averaging 9.9.

►   Nothin’ but Net: My All-Star ballot

Congratulations, NBA fans.

I don’t think you did a terrible job in voting for the NBA All-Star Game starters. That was a compliment. With 10 choices, you did brilliantly for nine of them.

The fans chose Golden State’s Steph Curry and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant in the backcourt, alongside New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Memphis’ Marc Gasol.

In the East, it’ll be John Wall of the Washington Wizards with Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors in the backcourt. Some guy named LeBron, Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks will be the frontcourt.

Bryant shouldn’t start. We all know this. But, fans vote and that’s what we get. For a while, I championed an idea of voting spectators being forced to pass a written exam to earn the privilege of All-Star selecting, but it seemed snobby.

I had no problem with Anthony, namely because I don’t know an Eastern Conference frontcourt player who was disrespected by not getting the job over Melo, who, by the way, is playing in his home arena for the All-Star game.

With Kobe starting, it takes away the gig from James Harden, who rightfully deserves it. That’s not the case with Melo, plus the Bryant injustice will be righted since he tore his rotator cuff and will most likely miss the game on February 15.

The shocker was Lowry getting in ahead of Dwyane Wade. A late push sent the Raptors point guard to his first All-Star game and he’ll start, nonetheless.

That makes the Eastern Conference reserves a little trickier. Does Wade still get in or does this open the door for a fourth Atlanta Hawks player, namely, Kyle Korver? (Late spoiler alert - I have three Hawks.)

The other question in the Western Conference is how many old-guard players get the vote? In other words, do the coaches even bother to pay attention or just select Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki out of habit? Both are having good seasons on good teams, but are there are better candidates?

With that, here is who I would vote for if I was a head coach in the NBA. I need two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild-cards. Some were harder than others, feelings will always be hurt, but here’s my picks. And remember, this isn’t necessarily who I believe will get the nods, although I don’t actually think it’s going to be far off.


JAMES HARDEN, Houston Rockets; RUSSELL WESTBROOK, Oklahoma City Thunder

Harden is the MVP of the league, so let’s save time and not detail why he should go to New York.

Westbrook has played 28 games and it’s enough for me. He’s averaging a staggering 25.1 points per game at the point guard position, but he’s also posting 7.4 assists per game, which is a half an assist higher than last season. Westbrook is dominating games for the Thunder, while still allowing Kevin Durant to be himself. Plus, Westbrook is a premiere defender who can wreak havoc on a game from that side of the floor. He leads the NBA in steals and has done enough to get the call.


LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE, Portland Trail Blazers; DEMARCUS COUSINS, Sacramento

Kings; TIM DUNCAN, San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge is a no-brainer and the Blazers are having a fantastic season. They deserve representation and Aldridge is having another amazing campaign. He’s averaging 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2% from 3-point range, although the sample size is small. He’s out for the next 6-8 weeks, so he’ll need a replacement, but should get a unanimous nod.

Cousins ranks fourth in the league in scoring and third in rebounding. Those are strong positions and the knock on Cousins will be the Kings’ record, which is 16-26. However, Cousins missed 11 games, mostly because of a serious illness, and Sacramento’s record with him in the lineup is 14-17. That’s respectable and his numbers are outstanding enough to warrant inclusion.

Duncan was the toughest choice in the West. Durant only played 19 games to this point and it’s just not enough. Plus, are we comfortable having two OKC players in the game when it isn’t even a postseason team? Duncan has missed only five games and he’s playing the most minutes a night since the 2009-10 season. Duncan is averaging 14.7 ppg, which is down from seasons past, but he’s also getting 10.0 rpg and is a legitimate NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Normally, I frown on lifetime achievement awards in All-Star selections, but he’s anchoring a San Antonio team still entrenched in the postseason.


DAMIAN LILLARD, Portland Trail Blazers; KLAY THOMPSON, Golden State Warriors

Lillard’s scoring is up. His assists are up. His rebounding is up. His steals are up. His field-goal percentage is up. And all those numbers are up after a season in which he made the All-Star team. Portland is great, so it’s pretty simple to pencil Lillard into the game.

Thompson is the second-best player on the best team in the conference. Simply put, the Warriors deserve two All-Stars and Thompson deserves to be the other one. He’s averaging 21.9 ppg and every other statistical category shows significant increases from last season. Thompson is fifth in 3-point shooting percentage and has become an elite wing defender.



KEVIN DURANT, Oklahoma City Thunder; MONTA ELLIS, Dallas Mavericks

I feel much better putting Durant in as a replacement. The 19 games is not enough, but his impact on the Thunder is undeniable. Plus, he’s the second- best player in the league, thus, a case can be made for his inclusion automatically (plus, I think the coaches are putting him in, no matter what).

You may have noticed there are no Dallas Mavericks previously listed. They are the best team without representation to this point and Ellis, not Nowitzki, is the most deserving Dallas player. Ellis averages 20.0 ppg, 4.5 apg and shoots 33% from long range. He’s been ignored for All-Star games in the past because of the perception he’s just a scorer, but his season and a half in Dallas proved he’s more.


Los Angeles Clippers; MIKE CONLEY, Memphis Grizzlies


JIMMY BUTLER, Chicago Bulls; JEFF TEAGUE, Atlanta Hawks

Butler is an obvious choice. In just a minute more per game, Butler’s scoring is up 7.4 ppg, his assists are up 0.6 a night and his rebounding is 1.1 better. His shooting percentages are 46 from the floor, 35 from 3-point range and 83 from the foul line. Butler is a stout defender, plays the most minutes in the league and has been the best thing about a Bulls team that is in line to host a first-round playoff series.

Career highs in scoring, assists, rebounding and field-goal percentage make Teague an attractive option. The fact his team is six games ahead in the Eastern Conference helps. Atlanta’s dominance is going to send a lot of Hawks to New York and Teague is the most undisputed of them all. He’s also a solid defender.


AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks; PAUL MILLSAP, Atlanta Hawks; CHRIS BOSH, Miami Heat

This group is admittedly thin. Preseason, we all assumed Kevin Love would be in this mix, if not starting, but the Cavs have underachieved, and, despite very solid numbers (17.7 ppg/10.4 rpg), Love can’t be voted in here. There’s no rational justification for having three Cleveland players on the roster. Damn. Spoiler alert for the wild cards.

Horford missed most of last season and it was easy to forget he’s a two-time All-Star. Upon his return, Horford’s numbers are down from seasons prior, but that’s because head coach Mike Budenholzer employs a more passing-friendly offense than previous Hawks head coaches. Horford has very good scoring and field-goal percentage stats; however, his rebounding is down considerably from prior campaigns. Still, Horford is the defensive anchor for a team that is first in opponents’ scoring.

Millsap is more-polished than Horford offensively and his 3-point shooting has become a legitimate weapon. He’s the second-best player on the best team in the conference and that’s enough. The Hawks deserve massive representation because they are clearly better than all. Millsap is a guy whose numbers don’t jump out at you, but watch him and you’ll know he’s one of the six best frontcourt players in the Eastern Conference.

Bosh actually emerged as the most obvious candidate. His scoring is up over five ppg since LeBron took his talents home. Rebounding has improved. Assists are better. Three-point shooting is surprisingly strong. Miami still passes for a playoff team in the 2014-15 version of the Eastern Conference.



I don’t know what to make of Irving’s season. With James and Love in town, you’d expect Irving’s scoring to go down and his assists would go up. That’s false. Irving’s scoring is up from last season to 21 ppg and his assists sank from 6.1 per game in 2013-14 to 5.3 in 2014-15. Uncle Drew’s field-goal and 3- point percentages are both ahead of last season. It’s been a strange campaign in Cleveland, but Irving’s numbers and impact are enough to get him into the show, where he won MVP last year.

Oh man.

Wade or Korver?

It’s a classic philosophical All-Star debate: Do you reward winning over all else or do you reward better individual achievement, coupled with name recognition?

Here’s the case for Wade. He’s averaging 21.8 ppg, which ranks 12th. His assists are at 5.5 per game and his rebounding is at 4.0 and those are really impressive posts for a shooting guard. Wade has played 32 games and has Miami in the mix in the Eastern Conference.

However, the Heat are six games under .500. Can we justify having two Miami players with a losing record?

Now, for Korver’s case. The Hawks are six games clear of everyone. They’ve done it in Budenholzer’s style, which is Gregg Popovich’s style of teamwork and passing. Individually, Korver’s scoring is at its highest since the 2006-07 season at 13.1 ppg. His 3-point shooting is an astronomical 53.5%, his field-goal percentage is at 51.8 and his free-throw percentage is 92.2. If that continues, Korver will become the second player in NBA history to have a season of 50/50/90 and the other was Steve Kerr, who is, coincidentally the coach of the Western Conference All-Stars. Kerr did it as a bench player. Korver is doing it as a starter. Korver is also the most clutch shooter in the NBA with eye-opening numbers in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Part of me wanted to hedge my bet and get a second Washington player like Marcin Gortat or Bradley Beal in there. Or, maybe Jonas Valanciunas from the Toronto Raptors could justify their strong season with a second selection.

All right, a man has to make tough decisions.

I’m going with KYLE KORVER, Atlanta Hawks.

I can’t justify two Heat All-Star players with the team six games under .500, especially in the Eastern Conference. The other factor is Korver’s clutch factor in the fourth quarter and overtime. Korver is a better all-around player than he gets credit for, so I’ll take four Hawks.


and BRADLEY BEAL, Washington Wizards     ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►   Stretching the Field: Rose gets message across

There are several ways to motivate people.

Some are more egregious than others.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose opted to call out his teammates in a postgame interview following Monday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Everybody has to be on the same page. Until then, we’re going to continue to get our (expletive) kicked,“ Rose said. “We’re not communicating while we’re on the floor to one another. Everybody is quiet. Trust plays a part, but communicating on defense in a team sport is huge.

“We’ve got to give a better effort. It seems like we’re not even competing. It’s (expletive) irritating.“

The Bulls were handed their sixth loss in eight games by the Cavaliers and shot 37.5% from the field. They were out-rebounded by a 54-40 margin and Rose scored 18 points on 5-of-14 field-goal shooting.

Rose should be one of the last players to preach about having an edge and communicating when he’s been heavily criticized for not playing through pain and sacrificing for his teammates. He has missed plenty of time with various injuries and probably would sit two or three games with a hangnail.

This is the same Rose who said he is worried about his future and doesn’t want to go to meetings or his son’s graduation “all sore.“ Suck it up, Derrick. Your concern about long term doesn’t hold much weight, and now is when the Bulls need you the most.

Including the Cleveland game, Rose shot no better than 35% five times over a 12-game stretch. Everybody has a bad game here and there, but Rose is supposed to be the leader of the Bulls and one of the top guards in the league. By no means am I trying to question Rose’s ability or imply he’s soft because he is still a top scorer in the league and hasn’t proven it on a consistent basis.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team isn’t giving multiple efforts or concentrating on the floor. The Bulls aren’t doing their jobs and that must change, according to the gritty and defensive-minded coach.

Forward Taj Gibson got some things off his chest, too.

“We have to practice harder,“ Gibson said. “We can’t be taking days off. We have to play with some energy.

“We have the personnel. It comes from within. There’s nothing more you can say. It’s all about how much heart you have and how determined you’re going to be.“

All the talk must have resonated with the Bulls, who came out like wild banshees with Thursday’s 104-81 beating of the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. Rose scored a game-high 22 points and the defensive effort was there, holding the Spurs below 100 points and 37% shooting.

San Antonio’s big four of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard were all present and didn’t produce much, leading coach Gregg Popovich to say his team’s effort was “humiliating and embarrassing.“ It has to be an accomplished feeling to get under the skin of one of the top coaches the likes of which the NBA has never seen before.

“You go through ups and downs through the course of a season and it’s how you navigate through those things,“ Thibodeau said. “The important thing is to be mentally tough through adversity and concentrate on what’s important and that’s trying to improve.“

The Bulls will be tested through the course of the next eight games, with seven of those coming on the road, including Friday’s Big D showdown with the Dallas Mavericks. Chicago is going through the gauntlet against Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Miami, Golden State, Phoenix and Houston. Its mettle will be tested on all accounts.

Rose and the Bulls will make the playoffs this season and are currently the No. 4 seed in the East. Before that happens, there will probably be some soul searching once again, private meetings and inspirational words. The Bulls responded positively in their recent hiccup, so there’s hope they can steer clear of any controversy moving forward.

Like Thibodeau said, there will be ups and downs, and it’s all about handling adversity the right way. Responding to criticism and pulverizing the defending NBA champions is a good stepping-stone for Chicago on the path of success.    ~~  Shawn Clarke ~~

►   Kobe Bryant reportedly expected to miss rest of season with shoulder injury

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant may have made the NBA all-star team, announced Thursday night, but he likely won’t play in it. The veteran guard is expected to miss the rest of the 2014-15 season, as we recovers from a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported on Friday.

The Lakers would not confirm the information, but noted the diagnosis of the torn rotator cuff was correct and surgery, which would render Bryant’s season over, was discussed.

“Bryant is scheduled to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday, and a decision is expected to be made at that time,” the team said on the Lakers’ Web site.

Bryant sustained the injury during the third quarter of Wednesday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans when he went up for a two-handed dunk.

“It felt fine when I went up, didn’t feel too good when I came down,” Bryant said after the game (via The Washington Post’s Michael Lee).

The results of an MRI taken in San Antonio on Thursday were enough to warrant a trip straight back to Los Angeles for Bryant, who was undergoing further tests on Friday. His teammates remained in Texas, where they will meet the Spurs on Friday.

Lakers coach Bryan Scott expressed his concerns on Friday about the future of the 19-season veteran who still has one more year on his contract.

“Yeah I’m worried,” Scott said. “We all in the organization are worried about it.”

Bryant, meanwhile, is feeling good enough to make jokes, as well as thank his fans for their support.

►   Stephen Curry overtakes LeBron James for most votes as NBA announces all-star starters

Guards made the news as the NBA announced its starters for this year’s All-Star Game. Golden State point guard Stephen Curry can make a claim now as the league’s most popular player after finishing first in the voting, edging out perennial favorite LeBron James of Cleveland.

Curry racked up 1,513,324 votes, although James was close behind with 1,470,483. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference will feature a pair of first-time starters in its back court: Washington’s John Wall and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.

According to the NBA, a late voting push moved Lowry past Miami’s Dwyane Wade, as the Raptors point guard finished with 805,290 votes to the Heat shooting guard’s 789,839. Wall became the first Wizard voted in as a starter by the fans since Gilbert Arenas in 2007.

L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant joins Curry in the West’s backcourt, but Bryant’s availability for the February 15 game appears very much in doubt after he suffered a torn rotator cuff on Wednesday. Houston’s James Harden, currently leading the NBA in scoring, would be a likely candidate to replace Bryant if the injury forces him to miss the game.

The game will feature a Gasol Brothers showdown, as Chicago’s Pau Gasol joins James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony in the East’s frontcourt, while Memphis’s Marc Gasol teams up for the West with the L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin and New Orleans’s Anthony Davis.

Here are the starting lineups for the all-star game:



LeBron James, Cavaliers; Carmelo Anthony, Knicks;  Pau Gasol, Bulls


John Wall, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors



Blake Griffin, Clippers, Marc Gasol, Grizzlies; Anthony Davis, Pelicans


Stephen Curry, Warriors; Kobe Bryant, Lakers

Who do you think was left off the list? Who should the coaches pick as reserves?

►   NBA Game Results

(Friday, January 23)

Final Score: Toronto 91, Philadelphia 86

Kyle Lowry came alive late and Greivis Vasquez made the go-ahead basket with 25.9 seconds left to lift the Toronto Raptors over the Philadelphia 76ers, 91-86, on Friday. Michael Carter- Williams made a 3-pointer, then stole the ball before making a layup to give the Sixers an 86-85 lead with 41.9 seconds remaining. Lowry missed from beyond the arc but DeMar DeRozan pulled down the offensive rebound. Vasquez then made a layup to put Toronto in front. Carter-Williams drove to the hoop and turned the ball over, leading to a pair of Jonas Valanciunas free throws with 10.6 seconds to go. Henry Sims air-balled a 3-pointer at the other end and the ball went out of bounds off Philadelphia. Lowry capped his 17-point fourth quarter with two free throws to seal the game. Lowry, who was named an NBA All-Star starter on Thursday, ended with 21 points and three steals for the Raptors, who have won seven straight against Philadelphia.

Final Score: Atlanta 103, Oklahoma City 93

The Atlanta Hawks have become the most dominant team in the NBA over the past two months. They now have a franchise- record 15 consecutive victories. Paul Millsap, had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jeff Teague scored 17 with nine assists and the Hawks pulled away for a 103-93 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night. Atlanta, which hasn’t lost since Dec. 26 at home against Milwaukee, has won 29 of its last 31 games. Its only other defeat in the stretch came at Orlando when Tobias Harris nailed a jumper at the buzzer on Dec. 13. That marked the end of a home-and-home set. The Hawks previously won 14 in a row Nov. 16 - Dec. 14, 1993, the last season in which the Hawks won a division title. Al Horford posted 14 points and 12 boards, and DeMarre Carroll and Dennis Schroder each had 13 points for Atlanta. Russell Westbrook scored 22 with 11 assists, and Kevin Durant chipped in 21 points for Oklahoma City, which had a four-game winning streak broken.

Final Score: Cleveland 129, Charlotte 90

Facing a defense that has not allowed a team to score more than 80 points in three straight games, the Cleveland Cavaliers put up 75 in the first half en route to a 129-90 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. LeBron James led the scorching-hot Cavs with 25 points and added nine assists and four steals in their fifth straight win. J.R. Smith made 7-of-11 shots from 3-point range on his way to a 21 point game, Kyrie Irving chipped in 18 points, and Timofey Mozgov added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cleveland shot 15-of-28 from long range and hit 51.7 of its attempts overall. The Cavs outrebounded Charlotte 56-42 and held a 27-9 fastbreak points advantage. The Hornets saw their three-game winning streak end despite 22 points and 11 boards from Al Jefferson. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 15 points and seven rebounds.

Final Score: Miami 89, Indiana 87

Dwyane Wade’s 13th point of the contest, a free throw with 6.9 seconds left in regulation, was the difference as the Miami Heat nearly blew a large lead but held on to beat the Indiana Pacers by an 89-87 count on Friday. Luol Deng netted 23 points and Chris Bosh added 19 for the Heat, who had lost two in a row and won for the first time at home since Jan. 4 against the Nets. Chris Andersen totaled four points in 28-plus minutes but recorded a game-high 13 rebounds. Luis Scola came off the bench to post 14 points for the Pacers, who dropped their seventh straight contest. George Hill and CJ Watson each contributed 13 points while David West had 12 with nine boards in the setback.

Final Score: New York 113, Orlando 106

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points as the New York Knicks stayed hot with a 113-106 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday. Jason Smith supplied 19 points and five rebounds, Lance Thomas netted 16 points and Langston Galloway had 15 points and eight boards for the Knicks, who won three game in a row for the first time this season. Despite Nikola Vucevic tying a season-high with 34 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, the Magic lost their fourth straight game. Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, in defeat.

Final Score: Chicago 102, Dallas 98

Derrick Rose’s Monday night call-out has reaped immediate benefits. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Pau Gasol added 13 points and 16 boards and the Chicago Bulls held off the Dallas Mavericks 102-98 on Friday night. After being handed a sixth loss in eight games following a 108-94 blowout loss to the Cavaliers in Cleveland, Rose preached for better effort from his teammates during a postgame press conference. The Bulls listened to their star. Chicago routed the reigning-champion San Antonio Spurs 104-81 on Thursday night prior to the triumph in Dallas. Rose netted 18 of his 20 points in the first half for Chicago, which outrebounded Dallas 47-30. Dirk Nowitzki supplied 24 points, Monta Ellis provided 17 points and five steals and Tyson Chandler posted 10 points and 12 boards for the Mavericks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: New Orleans 92, Minnesota 84

Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 92-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. Eric Gordon added 20 points and five assists for the Pelicans, who have won two in a row. Tyreke Evans and Dante Cunningham tallied 17 and 14 points, respectively, with Evans also dishing out eight assists. Thaddeus Young ended with 15 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost 10 straight at home. Gorgui Dieng contributed 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Final Score: San Antonio 99, LA Lakers 85

Tony Parker scored 17 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a comfortable 99-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili also added 15 points to help the Spurs win for the fourth time in five games. Tim Duncan chipped in 14 points and seven boards. The Lakers lost their seventh straight game hours after confirming Kobe Bryant tore a rotator cuff, putting his season in jeopardy. Nick Young led Los Angeles with 17 points, and Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson joined him in double figures.

Final Score: Boston 100, Denver 99

Avery Bradley hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:24 left in regulation and Boston slipped out of Denver with a 100-99 victory at Pepsi Center. Bradley finished with a team-best 18 points for the Celtics, with Brandon Bass picking up 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Jared Sullinger had 14 and eight boards. Jameer Nelson poured in a game-high 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting for the Nuggets, who dropped their fifth straight contest. Arron Aflalo picked up 20 points and J.J. Hickson totaled 15 with 14 rebounds.

Final Score: Houston 113, Phoenix 111

James Harden scored 33 points and hit the winning jumper at the buzzer to lift the Houston Rockets to a 113-111 triumph over the Phoenix Suns. Donatas Motiejunas scored 15 for the Rockets, who blew a 16-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter but bounced back to win for the seventh time in 10 games. Josh Smith, Patrick Beverley and Corey Brewer all posted 14 points for the Rockets. Houston lost forward Dwight Howard to a right ankle sprain in the first quarter. He twisted his ankle after landing on a Suns player. Eric Bledsoe had 25 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Suns, who had their four-game overall and seven-game home winning streak broken. Isaiah Thomas scored 22 and Markieff Morris totaled 21 points for the Suns.

Final Score: Golden State 126, Sacramento 101

There was a groan at Oracle Arena when Klay Thompson misfired on his first field goal attempt of the fourth quarter. They were giving him a standing ovation just a few minutes later. Thompson turned a Sacramento Kings’ third-quarter lead into a Golden State Warriors rout all by himself. The sharp-shooting guard set an NBA record for points in a quarter on Friday night, netting 37 of Golden State’s 41 in the third en route to a 126-101 Warriors blowout win over the Kings. Thompson, who finished with 52 points after departing at the 9:28 mark of the fourth, made all 13 of his shots in the third, with nine of them coming from beyond the arc. He broke George Gervin and Carmelo Anthony’s previous mark of 33 points for a quarter. During a 5:25 span of the third, Thompson poured in 19 straight Golden State points and potted five triples during the stretch. He outscored the Kings 37-22 in the period. Thompson finished 16-of-25 from the field overall and was 11-of-15 from long distance. Marreese Speights had 19 points off the bench, while Stephen Curry added 10 points and 11 assists for Golden State, which has won four straight and 12 of its last 13 games. DeMarcus Cousins tallied 28 points and 11 boards to lead the Kings, who have dropped six straight games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Marlins reportedly sign Ichiro

The Miami Marlins have reportedly reached a one-year agreement with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

The Miami Herald, citing a source with direct knowledge of the deal, is reporting the agreement is in the $2 million range.

Suzuki hit .284 with one homer, 22 RBI and 42 runs scored in 143 games with the Yankees last season, his 14th year in a league.

A 10-time All-Star, Suzuki has 2,844 major league hits and 4,122 professional hits when counting his time in Japan. He had 10 straight 200-plus hit seasons starting in his rookie year of 2001 with the Seattle Mariners, leading the league in the category seven times.

With Miami, he will likely serve as a fourth outfielder and pinch-hitter.

►   Cubs ink Fowler to 1-year deal

The Chicago Cubs reportedly signed recently-acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler to a one-year contract on Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Fowler will earn $9.5 million over the upcoming season, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 28-year-old veteran was acquired from Houston on Monday in exchange for pitcher Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena.

Fowler batted .276 with 35 RBI and eight home runs over 116 games for Houston in 2014 after spending his previous six seasons with Colorado.

The experienced switch-hitter has hit .271 with 245 RBI, 48 home runs, 94 stolen bases and 57 triples in 783 career games.

►   Braves bring in Jonny Gomes

The Atlanta Braves and outfielder Jonny Gomes have agreed to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but reported it to be worth $4 million. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2016.

Gomes split last season with Boston and Oakland, batting .234 with six homers and 37 runs batted in over 112 games. He was traded to the Athletics as part of the Jon Lester deal at the July 31 deadline.

The 34-year-old veteran owns a career average of .244 with 155 homers and 500 RBI in 1,108 games with Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Washington, Oakland and Boston.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Seppi upsets Federer at Australian Open

Andreas Seppi knew he couldn’t relax.

Up two sets against Roger Federer, the 30-year-old Italian was eying a big upset but remained wary of the opponent on the other side of the net.

“It’s never comfortable playing Roger,“ Seppi said in an on-court interview with a TV reporter.

He should know.

Seppi lost his first 10 matches against Federer before finally finding the all-time great’s number in a monster upset on one of tennis’ biggest stages.

Seppi handed the second-seeded former world No. 1 Federer his earliest exit at the Australian Open in 14 years, gutting out a four-set win in the third round on Friday that took three hours to complete and ended with one of the unheralded Italian’s best shots on match point in a fourth-set tiebreak.

Following a hard serve, Seppi found himself in no man’s land on Federer’s return but got the ball back. It drew Federer to the net, but Seppi was able to track the next shot down in the corner, looping a forehand over Federer and down the line for a winner.

It finished off a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) win that ended Federer’s run of 11 consecutive semifinal appearances at the season’s first Grand Slam event.

“To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me,“ said Seppi. “Of course, at the beginning, I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis. I was pretty calm. I have to say, from the beginning [and] also in the important moments.“

Federer hadn’t lost this early at the Aussie Open since he was also ousted in the third round way back in 2001.

“[It was] just a bad day,“ admitted Federer. “I wish I could have played better, but clearly it was tough losing the first two. [I] had chances to get back into it. I let it slip, I mean, both times in some ways. I guess I won the wrong points out there today. I knew how important that second set tiebreak was, so clearly that hurt, losing that one. The end wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy to play with the shadow. But it was the same for both of us. [It was] just a disappointing loss.“

The four-time Aussie champion—his last win came in 2010—Federer aced Seppi 15 times but also committed nine double faults, including one to go down 15-30 in the 12th game of the fourth set.

The Swiss star fought back and won the game with an ace to force a tiebreak.

Federer holds a men’s-record 17 Grand Slam titles, but it’s the three-time ATP champion Seppi who moved on to face Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

Meanwhile, third-seeded former No. 1 Rafael Nadal got past Israeli Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 and No. 6 seed Andy Murray, a three-time Aussie Open runner- up, eased to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 win over Portuguese Joao Sousa and will next face No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov, who battled Marcos Baghdatis for 3 hours, 27 minutes before besting the 2006 Melbourne runner-up 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal beat Federer in the 2009 Aussie final and is a two-time runner-up in Melbourne, including last year when he was stunned by Stan Wawrinka in the final. Nadal, of course, is the reigning French Open king.

Nadal’s fourth-round opponent will be tall South African Kevin Anderson.

In other third-round action involving seeds, No. 7 former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych handled Serb and last week’s Sydney champion Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and a No. 14 Anderson dismissed No. 24 Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6).

Up next for Berdych will be dangerous Aussie Bernard Tomic.

Also on Day 5, the promising crowd favorite Kyrgios doused Tunisian Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 and an all-Aussie affair saw Tomic knock out Sam Groth 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.

The third round will resume here on Saturday, including matches for current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the fourth-seeded reigning Oz champion Wawrinka and fifth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori. Djokovic will take on 31st-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, while Wawrinka will encounter Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen and the Japanese Nishikori will be opposed by American two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson.

The reigning Wimbledon champ Djokovic is a seven-time major titlist, including four Aussie crowns. He captured the title at Melbourne Park three straight years from 2011-13.

Also slated for action Saturday are eighth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, ninth-seeded former Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer and 19th-seeded towering American John Isner.

►   Sharapova, Halep, Bouchard move on in Oz

French Open champion Maria Sharapova, Roland Garros runner-up Simon Halep and Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard were among Friday’s third-round winners at the 2015 Australian Open.

The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova blitzed helpless 31st-seeded Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas 6-1, 6-1 in 61 minutes at Laver Arena.

“I started really focused, I knew I had a tough, long match previously, so I wanted to start off strong and finish strong,“ said Sharapova.

“I think I did a good job of that.“

Sharapova captured the Aussie Open in 2008 and was the runner-up here in 2007 and 2012. The five-time major champ will face Chinese Peng Shuai in the fourth round on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 seed Halep fought past American Bethanie Mattek-Sands for a 6-4, 7-5 decision. Halep led 4-1 in the second set before Mattek- Sands mounted a mini comeback, only to fall short in the end.

Up next for the Romanian Halep will be Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.

The seventh-seeded Canadian star Bouchard had a tough first set but ended up cruising in the second to get past capable Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-0.

“I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there today,“ admitted Bouchard, who has a big fan base in Australia.

Her fourth-round opponent will be Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Tenth-seeded Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova defeated 22nd-seeded Czech and last week’s Sydney runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-4, while Wickmayer pulled off an upset of 14th-seeded Italian and former French Open runner-up Sara Errani, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

In some other third-round action, the 21st-seeded Peng battled her way past Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, German Julia Goerges topped Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, and Begu dismissed German Carina Witthoeft 6-4, 6-4. Goerges should have her hands full with Makarova on Sunday.

The third round is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, including matches for top-seeded five-time Aussie champion Serena Williams, fourth-seeded Wimbledon titlist and last week’s Sydney winner Petra Kvitova and 18th-seeded former Aussie finalist Venus Williams.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion and reigning U.S. Open queen Serena will take on 26th-seeded Elina Svitolina, while the left-handed Kvitova will tangle with rising American Madison Keys and the former No. 1 and seven- time Grand Slam champion Venus will encounter talented Italian Camila Giorgi.

Also on Day 6, sixth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will meet 30th-seeded American Varvara Lepchenko; 11th-seeded 2014 Aussie runner-up Dominika Cibulkova will battle 19th-seeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet; 25th-seeded Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova will face former world No. 1 star Victoria Azarenka; and Coco Vandeweghe will lock horns with fellow American and last week’s Hobart runner-up Madison Brengle. Cibulkova was last year’s Aussie runner-up to since-retired Li Na.

The two-time Aussie Open champ and two-time U.S. Open runner-up Azarenka titled in Melbourne back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 before being slowed by a foot injury last year. She appears to be completely healthy now and ready to make a deep run at this fortnight.

►   Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update - January 23

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Andreas Seppi def. Roger Federer (2), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)
Rafael Nadal (3) def. Dudi Sela, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5
Andy Murray (6) def. Joao Sousa, 6-1, 6-1, 7-5
Tomas Berdych (7) def. Viktor Troicki, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (10) def. Marcos Baghdatis, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Kevin Anderson (14) def. Richard Gasquet (24), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Nick Kyrgios def. Malek Jaziri, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1
Bernard Tomic def. Sam Groth, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Fernando Verdasco (31)
Stan Wawrinka (4) vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Kei Nishikori (5) vs. Steve Johnson
Milos Raonic (8) vs. Benjamin Becker
David Ferrer (9) vs. Gilles Simon (18)
Feliciano Lopez (12) vs. Jerzy Janowicz
John Isner (19) vs. Gilles Muller
Vasek Pospisil vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

►   Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 23

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6) def. C.Guccione/L.Hewitt, 6-4, 6-2
F.Lopez/M.Mirnyi def. R.Bopanna/D.Nestor (7), 7-5, 6-3
A.Qureshi/N.Zimonjic (8) def. P.Carreno Busta/G.Garcia-Lopez, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4
S.Bolelli/F.Fognini def. R.Klaasen/L.Paes (10), 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
B.Becker/A.Sitak def. J.Knowle/V.Pospisil (13), 1-2, retired
D.Inglot/F.Mergea (14) def. D.Schwartzman/H.Zeballos, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-2
J.Murray/J.Peers (16) def. O.Jasika/J.Smith, 6-2, 6-3
P.Cuevas/D.Marrero def. A.Krajicek/D.Young, 6-2, 6-2


B.Bryan/M.Bryan (1) vs. C.Berlocq/L.Mayer
J.Benneteau/E.Roger-Vasselin (2) vs. S.Giraldo/J.Sousa
I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) vs. A.Golubev/D.Istomin
A.Peya/B.Soares (5) vs. O.Marach/M.Venus
R.Lindstedt/M.Matkowski (9) vs. J.Erlich/T.Huey
J.Cabal/R.Farah (11) vs. P.Herbert/N.Mahut
E.Butorac/S.Groth (12) vs. P.Andujar/D.Brown
J.Chardy/L.Kubot vs. A.Bolt/A.Whittington

►   Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update - January 23

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Maria Sharapova (2) def. Zarina Diyas (31), 6-1, 6-1
Simona Halep (3) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-4, 7-5
Eugenie Bouchard (7) def. Caroline Garcia, 7-5, 6-0
Ekaterina Makarova (10) def. Karolina Pliskova (22), 6-4, 6-4
Yanina Wickmayer def. Sara Errani (14), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Peng Shuai (21) def. Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
Julia Goerges def. Lucie Hradecka, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5
Irina-Camelia Begu def. Carina Witthoeft, 6-4, 6-4


Serena Williams (1) vs. Elina Svitolina (26)
Petra Kvitova (4) vs. Madison Keys
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) vs. Varvara Lepchenko (30)
Dominika Cibulkova (11) vs. Alize Cornet (19)
Venus Williams (18) vs. Camila Giorgi
Garbine Muguruza (24) vs. Timea Bacsinszky
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) vs. Victoria Azarenka
Coco Vandeweghe vs. Madison Brengle

►   Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 23

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
Total Prize Money: $2,600,000

G.Dabrowski/A.Rosolska def. S.Hsieh/S.Mirza (2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
M.Hingis/F.Pennetta (4) def. D.Hantuchova/K.Knapp, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2
R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5) def. V.Diatchenko/M.Niculescu, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac def. G.Muguruza/C.Suarez Navarro (6), 7-6 (8-6),

A.Kudryavtseva/A.Pavlyuchenkova (12) def. A.Panova/H.Watson, 6-0, 6-2
M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) def. J.Gajdosova/A.Tomljanovic, 7-5,

S.Kuznetsova/S.Stosur def. A.Rodionova/A.Rodionova, 6-2, 6-4
S.Soler-Espinosa/M.Torro-Flor def. P.Shuai/X.Yi-Fan, 7-5, 6-2

D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens def. C.Vandeweghe/Y.Wickmayer, 6-3, 6-4

S.Errani/R.Vinci (1) vs. M.Barthel/M.Minella
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) vs. D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens
C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7) vs. S.Rogers/D.Vekic
A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9) vs. M.Adamczak/O.Rogowska
T.Babos/K.Mladenovic (10) vs. B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova
A.Medina Garrigues/Y.Shvedova (11) vs. S.Stephens/T.Townsend
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) vs. L.Arruabarrena/I.Begu
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) vs. Z.Diyas/C.Scheepers

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Grace, Wiesberger remain among Qatar Masters leaders

Branden Grace and Bernd Wiesberger both birdied the final hole on Friday to remain tied for the lead after three rounds of the Qatar Masters.

Grace and Wiesberger both shot 4-under 68 in round three. They were joined atop the leaderboard at 13-under-par 203 by Marc Warren and Emiliano Grillo, who both carded 5-under 67s on Friday at Doha Golf Club.

Eddie Pepperell fired a 7-under 65, the low round of the day by two strokes, to soar into a share of fifth place at minus-11. He stands alongside Alejandro Canizares (68) and George Coetzee (70). Coetzee had shared the 36-hole lead with Grace and Wiesberger.

Oliver Fisher posted a 3-under 69 and he is alone in eighth place at 9-under 207. Former U.S. Amateur winner Byeong-hun An (72) and 2003 champion Darren Fichardt (71) are among six players tied for ninth at 8-under-par 208.

Grace opened with a birdie at the first, but he faltered to a back-to-back bogeys at three and four. He quickly recovered those strokes as he birdied the Nos. 5 and 6. His birdie at the fifth came after a remarkable wedge shot from the trees.

“I actually didn’t hit that bad a tee shot. I thought I was just in the rough on the right and my ball must have had a big bounce to the right. Where it finished, I thought, this is going to take some magic,“ Grace said of the fifth. “I could only hit a big, snap hook wedge and when I hit it, I couldn’t see the ball. We heard the claps and next thing you know, I managed to make a nice little 5-footer for birdie. That definitely got it kick started.“

The South African parred three in a row from the seventh. Around the turn, Grace birdied the 10th to move to 11-under. After a pair of pars, he inched within one of the lead as he birdied the 13th. Grace rolled in a 6-foot birdie effort at the 18th to gain a piece of the lead.

Wiesberger birdied the second and third to move into the lead at minus-11. After he was joined there, Wiesberger again moved in front as he birdied the par-3 eighth from 15 feet out.

The Austrian birdied the 12th to climb to 13-under, where he led by one. At the drivable 16th, he pulled his tee shot left of the green. He failed to reach the green with his second.

Wiesberger’s third ran well by the hole and he 2-putted for bogey to slip one back. He atoned for that mistake with a 5-foot birdie putt at the last.

“It was just that bad swing on 16, which cost me a bogey there, so it’s really a 2-shot swing on a short hole like that,“ Wiesberger stated. “I finished nicely with a birdie and it gives me a bit of momentum for tomorrow.“

Warren birdied the second and sixth, both for the second day in a row. He converted consecutive birdie tries at nine and 10.

The Scotsman dipped to 11-under as he bogeyed the 14th. Warren came right back with birdies at 15 and 16 to grab a share of the lead. He closed with a pair of pars to end at minus-13.

Grillo ran off sixth consecutive pars to open his round. He caught fire starting with a birdie at the seventh. Grillo poured in three straight birdie efforts from the ninth to jump into a tie for the lead at minus-12.

After four pars in a row, Grillo 2-putted for birdie from just short of the green at No. 16. He parred the final two holes to cap a bogey-free round.

NOTES: Of the four leaders, Grillo is the only one without a European Tour victory ... Grace earned his fifth tour win in December at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, while Warren picked up his third title last year and Wiesberger won twice in the 2012 campaign ... Grace is 5-0 when owning at least a piece of the 54-hole ... Defending champion Sergio Garcia dropped seven strokes in six holes as he struggled to a 5-over 77, which left him a 1-under 215 ... World No. 2 Henrik Stenson posted his second straight 71 and stands at minus-4, while former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot 3-under 69 and is tied for 22nd at 6-under-par 210 ... Canizares last made a bogey in the final round at Abu Dhabi last week and has played 68 bogey-free holes since.

The Gilmer Free Press

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TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
New York at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - MSG, SportSouth, NBA TV, DSS
Detroit at Milwaukee, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit, Wisconsin, DSS
Philadelphia at Memphis, 8:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, SportSouth, DSS
Brooklyn at Utah, 9:00 PM - YES, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Washington at Portland, 10:00 PM - CSN-DC, Northwest, NBA TV, DSS
National Hockey League
All-Star Skills Competition, 7:00 PM - NBCSN
College Basketball
Tulsa at East Carolina, 12:00 PM - ESPNews
Rutgers at Penn State, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Coll of Charleston at Drexel, 12:00 PM - NBCSN
Iowa at Purdue, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Wake Forest at Clemson, 12:00 PM - ACC Network,
DePaul at Xavier, 12:00 PM - FS1
Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Kentucky at South Carolina, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Jacksonville at Northern Ky, 1:00 PM -
Bucknell at Boston Univ, 1:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Texas A&M at Tennessee, 1:00 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth,
South Dakota at IUPUI, 1:00 PM - HTSN,
Loyola-Chicago at Indiana State, 1:05 PM - WTWO-TV
Arkansas at Missouri, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
Northeastern at William & Mary, 2:00 PM - NBCSN
Louisiana at Georgia State, 2:00 PM -
Kansas at Texas, 2:00 PM - CBS
Loyola-Maryland at Colgate, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Lehigh at Lafayette, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
TCU at West Virginia, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
Dartmouth at Harvard, 2:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Boise State at Air Force, 2:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Northwest
Florida State at North Carolina, 2:00 PM - ESPN
Fla Gulf Coast at Kennesaw St, 2:00 PM -
Stetson at USC Upstate, 2:00 PM -
Illinois at Minnesota, 2:15 PM - Big Ten Network
Georgetown at Marquette, 2:30 PM - FS1
TX-San Antonio at Western Ky, 3:00 PM - FCS, WKU PBS, WBNA
Texas-El Paso at Marshall, 3:00 PM - ASN, Altitude, MASN, CSN-Chicago
Georgia at Miss State, 3:00 PM - FSN, SportsTime Ohio,
Miami-Florida at Syracuse, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
BYU at San Diego, 4:00 PM - Time Warner, CSN-California, ROOT-Northwest
Robert Morris at St Francis-NY, 4:00 PM -
Miami-Ohio at Northern Ill, 4:00 PM -
UCLA at Oregon, 4:00 PM - CBS
Iowa State at Texas Tech, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Southern Ill at Evansville, 4:00 PM - FS-Midwest, CSN-Chicago,
Michigan State at Nebraska, 4:00 PM - ESPN
New Mexico at Wyoming, 4:00 PM -
Liberty at Radford, 4:30 PM -
Eastern Mich at Central Mich, 4:30 PM -
North Florida at Lipscomb, 5:00 PM -
Old Dominion at UAB, 5:30 PM - ASN, MASN, Altitude, CSN-Chicago+
Oklahoma at Baylor, 6:00 PM - ESPN 2
USC at Oregon State, 6:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Houston at SMU, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
UNC Greensboro at Chattanooga, 6:00 PM -
Florida at Ole Miss, 6:00 PM - SEC Network
LSU at Vanderbilt, 6:00 PM - ESPN U
North Dakota St at IUPU-Ft Wayne, 7:00 PM - PBS39
Wisconsin at Michigan, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Wagner at Central Conn St, 7:00 PM - MSG+, FCS
Richmond at Dayton, 7:00 PM - Atlantic 10 Network, SNY, CSN-Baltimore
Western Carolina at Samford, 7:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network
Ill-Chicago at Youngstown St, 7:00 PM -
Nevada at Fresno State, 7:00 PM - Mountain West Network
South Dakota St at Oral Roberts, 8:00 PM -
Washington St at Colorado, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Pacific at Gonzaga, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest,
Utah State at UNLV, 8:00 PM - CBSSN
Murray State at SIU Edwardsville, 8:00 PM - FS-Midwest
Memphis at Tulane, 8:00 PM - ESPN U
Towson at UNC-Wilmington, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, CSN-Chicago+
Missouri State at Bradley, 8:00 PM -
Auburn at Alabama, 8:30 PM - SEC Network
Utah Valley U at New Mexico St, 9:00 PM - ASN, MASN, CSN-Chicago
Long Beach State at CS-Northridge, 10:00 PM -
San Diego St at Colorado State, 10:00 PM - ESPN U
Arizona at California, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Pepperdine at Santa Clara, 11:00 PM - CSN-California, ROOT-Rocky Mountain
UC Irvine at Hawaii, 11:59 PM - OCSports
Arizona State at Stanford, 11:59 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Middle Tennessee at Charlotte, 12:00 PM - MSG+, ROOT-Northwest, Pittsburgh
Kansas State at Baylor, 12:00 PM - FS-Midwest, Southwest
Louisiana at Georgia State, 12:00 PM -
Robert Morris at St. Francis (NY), 1:00 PM -
USC Upstate at Stetson, 1:00 PM -
Akron at Central Michigan, 1:00 PM -
West Virginia at Kansas, 2:00 PM - MSG+, ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-South
Northern Kentucky at Jacksonville, 2:00 PM -
Cleveland State at Wright State, 2:00 PM -
Lipscomb at North Florida, 2:00 PM -
Campbell at Liberty, 2:00 PM -
Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 2:00 PM -
Green Bay at Detroit, 2:00 PM -
High Point at Radford, 2:00 PM -
Northern Illinois at Buffalo, 2:00 PM -
Tulsa at East Carolina, 2:30 PM -
Illinois-Chicago at Milwaukee, 3:00 PM -
Furman at Chattanooga, 3:00 PM -
Boston College at Pittsburgh, 4:00 PM - YES, ROOT-Pitt, FS-South, CSN-Balt
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 4:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin
Youngstown State at Oakland, 4:00 PM -
Kennesaw State at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM -
Montana State at Northern Arizona, 8:30 PM - FS-Arizona
College Football
Senior Bowl, 4:00 PM - NFL Network
College Hockey
Northern Michigan at Penn State, 4:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Ohio State at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Maine at New Hampshire, 7:00 PM - FCS
Denver at Miami-Ohio, 7:00 PM - FCS
North Star College Cup, 8:00 PM - FS-North
NBA Developmental League
Texas at Westchester, 7:00 PM - MSG+
Minor League Hockey
San Antonio at Lake Erie, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest
National Lacrosse League
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:00 PM -, TSN.CA
Vancouver at Colorado, 9:00 PM - Altitude,, TSN 2
International Soccer
Cordoba CF vs. Real Madrid CF, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Manchester City vs. Middlesbrough, 10:00 AM - FS1
Elche CF vs. FC Barcelona, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
SS Lazio vs. AC Milan, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - Qatar Masters, 4:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Humana Challenge, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Mitsubishi Electric Championship, 7:30 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 3:00 AM - ESPN 2
Australian Open, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2

Sports News   150122

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Five questions answered about DeflateGate

The air pressure in regulation NFL footballs is creating a new air of pressure around the league itself after it was discovered that 11 out of 12 of the footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were under-inflated. Quickly dubbed “DeflateGate,” the scandal, which could result in the Patriots being fined and losing valuable draft picks if a league investigation determines the team deflated their footballs deliberately, has led to quite a few questions. Here are the answers to a few.

Why does the inflation of the footballs matter?

It’s all about grip. Softer football are easier to get a handle on than harder ones. Think about trying to grasp the screen on which you’re reading this. Now think about grabbing a pillow with the same surface size. One is most definitely easier to handle, which might be why the discrepancy was discovered when the Colts’ D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass from Tom Brady.

Why didn’t the referees who handle the footballs between plays notice and do something?

NFL footballs, according to the league’s rule book, must be inflated with 12.5-13.5 pounds of air per square inch. The footballs in question were measured to be under-inflated by 2 PSI, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. This difference is imperceptible to most people who don’t throw and catch footballs for a living. In other words, it’s less like a computer monitor vs. a pillow and more like a hard football vs. a slightly less hard football, but a big enough difference to possibly benefit its users.

Why didn’t this benefit the Colts, too?

Save for the footballs reserved for kicking, which are controlled by a neutral individual (which we will address in a second), each team is responsible for its own playing balls during its offensive drives. This is why the Patriots would’ve been the only team to take advantage of the under-inflated footballs, presuming the balls the Colts brought were inflated properly.

But someone checks the footballs to make sure they follow the rules, right?

Right. Per the NFL rule book, each team is required to present 12 footballs for testing by the referee two hours and 15 minutes before the start of the game to make sure they meet regulations. In addition, the home team (in this case, the Patriots) would also have to make 12 backup footballs available for testing, as well. The balls are then returned to the team where they are usually kept by an equipment manager employed by the team.

Wait, so why doesn’t the neutral individual who keeps an eye on the kicking footballs keep an eye on all the balls?

That’s a really good question, and one the NFL will likely need to address as the investigation continues. Stay tuned.

►   Redskins fans aren’t happy with hiring of Joe Barry

The Redskins officially announced Joe Barry as their defensive coordinator on Tuesday. The reaction from fans went poorly.

Now, we’re talking about sports fans on the internet here, so most things go poorly. The announcement of the blueberry as the official team berry would go poorly. And after Barry emerged as the front-runner last week, fans had already worked themselves up into a lather of seething apathy and violent disinterest toward the Chargers linebackers coach, which only increased after Vic Fangio’s out-then-in-then-out appearance as a candidate.

So fans were completely prepared to be displeased with this announcement. And when it finally arrived, they were…displeased.


Bear in mind that a great many fan responses to the team’s announcement involved words we’re not allowed to repeat, and/or poop emojis.

►   NFL faces yet another Patriots cheating scandal, this time heading into Super Bowl

Suddenly, 2015 isn’t looking all that much rosier for Roger Goodell than 2014.

A domestic violence scandal that began the season may be mostly behind him, but now he must quickly confront an on-the-field story that involves the season’s end, with America’s biggest game coming on February 1. That’s because one of the teams may have qualified for Super Bowl XLIX by using footballs that were not in compliance with NFL rules. Eleven of the 12 footballs measured by game officials and used by the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game were under-inflated, a fact that was discovered when the Indianapolis Colts intercepted a Tom Brady pass.

The incident, besides reviving those old “Belicheat” cliches from SpyGate, ripped the cover off a part of the game that many fans never think about: the journey of a football from approval to sideline. NFL footballs, according to the rule book, must be inflated with 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch. Each team brings a number of balls to game officials, who approve them and mark them 135 minutes before game time. The footballs eventually are returned to each team, and each side uses its own set of balls when it is on offense.

The NFL won’t be pulling the Patriots out of the Super Bowl. If it determines that they acted deliberately, a fine and/or loss of draft picks would be the likely punishment.

But in a multi-billion-dollar business, this is either a really bad way to go about things or it’s a nonchalance, an arrogant shrug that says “everybody does it” and pays no mind to the possibility that it taints all those gaudy stats offenses have put up the last decade. So one of the first questions Goodell must ask as the NFL probes DeflateGate is: how pervasive is this? At the college level, adjusting footballs is widespread, according to an unnamed equipment manager who spoke with Yahoo’s Charles Robinson,  and it’s not a huge deal. “Being around football, it’s just common. It’s just the way it works. Everybody does it. You know you’re not supposed to do it, but nobody thinks it’s that big of a deal. I don’t think anybody looks at it as cheating.”

Each team, the manager told Robinson assumes the other is doing the same thing. As with baseball pitchers and catchers who doctor the ball, it’s done surreptitiously. “Honestly, I don’t think anybody ever thinks twice about doing it. Although, if you’re in a position where you have to do it on the sideline, everybody is always aware that you can’t do it out in the open,” he said. “You might have somebody stand in front of you when you’re taking air out, or you might sit down on the bench and kind of cover it up. But, yeah, it’s normal. It’s kind of the game-day process.”

Is that true in the NFL as well? An under-inflated football would theoretically be easier to catch and easier to hold onto, especially in a pouring rain, and the Patriots’ footballs were, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, under-inflated by 2 PSI. But quarterbacks are persnickety about the tools of their trade. For every one that likes an under-inflated ball, there’s an Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers quarterback believes there should be only a minimum PSI requirement because he’s loves a football that is inflated to the max.

“I have a major problem with the way it goes down, to be honest with you,” Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. “The majority of the time, they take air out of the football. I think that, for me, is a disadvantage.”

That raises another question for Goodell: Why didn’t referees, who arguably spend more time touching the ball during games than players, do something Sunday? Did they correct the inflation at halftime (the Patriots scored 21 points in the third quarter). And why aren’t footballs, as Bill Polian suggested to Newsday’s Bob Glauber, “kept in officials’ custody until right before the game”? Just let “a neutral person” handle them during the game on the sidelines.

The sooner Goodell can put out this fire, the better with teams and media converging on Arizona on Sunday for Super Bowl week. The Patriots will arrive under a cloud of suspicion and controversy, their very presence questioned. Coach Bill Belichick has promised full cooperation with the investigation, but until there’s a resolution of the issue, people will only bring up SpyGate, for which Belichick was fined $500,000 in 2007.

“We try to do things the right way,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “We work hard at our jobs, our professions, to be successful and it’s unfortunate that things like this come up, but that’s life, that’s the world we live in.”

There’s no answer for this one, for why, as Steve Young put it, the Patriots are a team that does the really difficult things well, yet trips up and sets off a national conversation in which everyone, from the Colts, the team the Patriots vanquished 45-7, to Vice President Joe Biden has weighed in. “Having been a receiver, I like a softer ball,” Biden told “CBS This Morning.” “That’s all I can tell ya.”

Inside the NFL offices, the mood, according to ESPN, is “disappointed … angry … distraught.” Last summer and in September, Goodell and the NFL badly botched the issue of domestic violence. They can’t make that mistake again with the Super Bowl looming.

►   Jets introduce Maccagnan, Bowles

A new era of New York Jets football began on Wednesday.

The franchise formally introduced new general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.

Bowles comes to New York having spent the last two seasons as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, while Maccagnan was an executive with the Houston Texans.

Jets owner Woody Johnson called Bowles a “natural leader” at the introductory news conference.

New York fired former GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan on December 29 following a 4-12 season. Ryan was eventually hired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

“Going forward, we’re going to be a tough team, we’re going to be an intelligent team. We’re going to do things the right way,“ said Bowles.

Neither Bowles nor Maccagnan had anything noteworthy to say about the team’s current roster.

“Todd and I really have to sit down and review the roster ourselves,“ said Maccagnan. “I do think there’s a good foundation in place.“

The Jets have missed the playoffs four straight seasons.

►   Jaguars hire Olson as offensive coordinator

The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Greg Olson as offensive coordinator.

Olson, the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons and the Jaguars’ quarterbacks coach in 2012, replaces Jedd Fisch, who was fired after two lackluster seasons.

The 51-year-old Olson also served as the offensive coordinator in Detroit (2005), St. Louis (2006-07) and in Tampa Bay (2009-11).

Olson becomes the Jaguars’ fourth offensive coordinator in the last five seasons.

►   Extra Points: Deflating the Patriots’ critics

It’s no “Perry Mason moment,“ but it’s becoming pretty clear that those dastardly New England Patriots got their hands caught in the cookie jar again.

“Deflate-gate,“ though, is a less-than-inspiring sequel to the blockbuster that was “Spygate.“

Nonetheless 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots provided for this past Sunday’s AFC Championship Game rout over Indianapolis were underinflated, according to the preliminary findings of an NFL investigation.

ESPN, citing league sources close to the inquiry, reported the balls were each two pounds below the league-mandated 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds per square inch (PSI).

“We are not commenting on the matter at this time,“ NFL spokesman Michael Signora told in an email late Tuesday evening.

Those comments are coming, though, and here’s what we know:

The Patriots defeated the Colts, 45-7, in rainy weather to earn their eighth Super Bowl berth in franchise history.

Indianapolis was tipped off to the Pats’ shenanigans with the footballs in the second quarter when veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson picked off Tom Brady.

Jackson noticed an abnormality and gave the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff, who brought it to the attention of coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano then relayed the information his general manager, Ryan Grigson, in the press box and Grigson alerted NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil, who in turn told the on-field officials at halftime.

On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, the officials held things up and eventually switched out the game ball. Of course, the Patriots led, 17-7, at halftime with the “advantage” and blitzed the Colts, 28-0, after the officials became aware of the issue.

So what’s the problem?

In theory, a softer football is easier to throw and catch, especially in poor weather conditions, although everything really relates to the quarterback in question.

Aaron Rodgers, for instance, prefers an overinflated football, something CBS broadcaster Phil Simms said during a Packers-Patriots game in November, and A- Rod himself confirmed at his season-ending press conference on Tuesday.

“(Rodgers) said something (that) was unique,“ Simms said. “(Rodgers said) ‘I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.‘ Because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes them tight.“

Rodgers, who has very big hands, is the exception to the rule, however.

“There is no advantage in a maximum amount of air in the football,“ Rodgers claimed. “There is with a minimum. A soft football is an advantage if you have smaller hands to throw the football.“

Simms agreed with that take.

“Everybody wants it smaller and soft so they can dig their fingers into it,“ the ex-Giants QB surmised.

Including Brady, who tried to laugh off the controversy on Monday.

“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,“ Brady said. “It’s ridiculous. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.“

Unfortunately for Tom Terrific, there is a “gotcha” moment when he discussed his love of a deflated ball when talking about a Ron Gronkowski touchdown on WEEI Radio in Boston back in 2011.

“When Gronk scores, he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball,“ Brady said at the time.

The real question is how did the underhanded, evil genius that is Bill Belichick actually pull off his latest caper.

Well, it’s not all that hard to do.

Here’s the mechanics of game day when it comes to the actual footballs being used:

The NFL rule book states that each team must provide game officials with 12 footballs before every game, and the balls are required to be inflated between the 12 1/2 and 13 1/2 PSI.

It’s the referees’ responsibility to inspect the game balls just over two hours before kickoff and he places a special marking on each ball which passes inspection before giving the approved balls to attendants on each team, who are supposed to maintain custody of the balls on each sideline.

Each team uses its own footballs on offense and clubs are permitted to slightly doctor them to their QBs preference. Things like rubbing up the football with dirt to make it less slippery are commonplace as is adjusting the inflation levels.

Former quarterback Brad Johnson even admitted to bribing attendants to have the footballs doctored to his specifications before the 2003 Super Bowl.

Johnson’s Buccaneers beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII and the Florida State product claimed he paid $7,500 to have 100 different balls scuffed.

“I paid some guys off to get the balls right,“ Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times. “I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them.“

Before you kill Walt Anderson, the AFC Championship Game referee, understand the difference between say 10 1/2 PSI and 12 1/2 isn’t all that noticeable unless you’re tipped off.

And for those questioning how the Pats could possibly underinflate that many footballs under those “strict” guidelines, understand it’s as simple as sticking an inflation needle in the football for a few seconds.

The reality here is this is much ado about nothing and a convenient excuse for those jealous of the Patriots’ success to pounce.

And green is never the most flattering color for the envious.

“Cheating” in the NFL didn’t start with a disgruntled Eric Mangini skirting omerta to reveal “Spygate” and it certainly didn’t end there as well.

Johnson was pretty up-front with his bribery technique on the game’s biggest stage and to this day Bill Parcells claims the Bill Walsh 49ers used to play games with the communication system in the playoffs.

“This kind of stuff has been going on in the NFL for quite some time, but it takes different forms,“ Parcells said on ESPN back in 2011. “I know from past history in two playoff games, one of these teams that was famous for using a script, which they rehearsed with their team prior to the game—they knew exactly what they wanted to do—mysteriously, two years in a row, when the game started, their phones went down, which mandates that the other side put their phones down.

“Now, let me get this straight. You’ve got your script rehearsed, you know what you’re going to do, the defense doesn’t know what’s coming, but they have to take their phones off?“

Parcells, himself, was known to play games at the old Giants Stadium and open or close the end-zone gate on windy days in an effort to help his own kicker or hinder the opposition’s.

There aren’t many people in this league who believe the Saints’ side of the things when Mickey Loomis was accused of bugging the opposition’s coaching box at the Superdome, and both the Cowboys and Redskins were heavily punished for blatantly skirting salary-cap rules a few years ago.

Remember Norv Turner’s Chargers and Stickum? Or how about Bill Romanowski’s revelation that he spent an hour before games using a Q-tip to apply silicone to his gloves for added grip, and Vaseline to his uniform so blockers would hit him and slide off.

And don’t even get me started on PEDs.

Despite all of that, Belichick is the only guilty party when it comes to public opinion and Roger Goodell’s lack of credibility from all the league’s previous peccadilloes this season almost forces the commish to be heavy-handed in doling out a punishment for this crime.

And that just plays into the narrative of the uneducated who believe “Beli- cheat” is the only scourge among his noble peers, an aberrant who has stained the Patriots’ legacy.

The truth is far less sexy.

NASCAR rules have always applied in the NFL—if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

And the Patriots? Well, they are always trying.  ~~  John McMullen ~~

►   Report: 11 of Pats’ 12 footballs under-inflated

Eleven of the 12 footballs allotted to the New England Patriots for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game were under-inflated, according to a report.

Citing league sources close to the NFL’s investigation, reported the 11 balls were each under-inflated by 2 pounds of air pressure.

NFL rules mandate game balls be inflated to 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds per square inch (PSI).

“We are not commenting on the matter at this time,“ NFL spokesman Michael Signora told in an email late Tuesday evening.

The NFL launched an investigation following New England’s 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in a rain-soaked game at Gillette Stadium, which advanced the Patriots to the Super Bowl against Seattle.

A deflated football is said to be easier to throw and catch in inclement weather.

If the Patriots are found to have deflated footballs intentionally, they could be subject to penalties, including a possible forfeiture of drafts picks.

A source told ESPN the league was “disappointed ... angry ... distraught” over the findings.

According to NFL rules, game balls are required to be inspected by the referee two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff and may not be altered after that.

A Patriots spokesman said the team continues to cooperate with the league’s investigation.

►   Redskins will stick with 3-4, but will still make changes

As Jay Gruden and the Redskins conducted their search for a new defensive coordinator, they had a choice to make: Totally reinvent themselves and change to a 4-3 scheme, or continue sporting a 3-4 front. They chose the latter, hiring Joe Barry, who has spent the past four years helping coach the 3-4 defense of the San Diego Chargers.

Gruden said he believes the Redskins’ personnel is best suited for a 3-4 front. He referenced outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, inside linebacker Keenan Robinson and nose tackle Chris Baker as key pieces of the defensive front that he wants Barry to develop and build around.

But sticking with the 3-4 doesn’t mean the Redskins will continue to do everything the same way. He wants the unit to become more aggressive in the way it attacks. And Gruden said just because the 3-4 will serve as the base front, there will be plenty of alignments that feature a 4-3 look, as was also the case before, with Washington’s nickel packages.

“I think the personnel that we have — you know, the Ryan Kerrigans of the world. I think it’s a natural fit,” Gruden said. “You know, we’re gonna mess with the way we do the 3-4, you know? There will be some different ideas that we have, as far as it’s not a two-gap 3-4. It might be more of a shoot-the-gap-type of 3-4, a get-up-the-field-and-rush-them 3-4, you know what I mean? There’s going to be some variety involved in that. In this day and age, with as much nickel as you see, there’s a lot of 4-3 elements anyway, but the way we do our base defense, it will be a 3-4 starting point. Once the ball is snapped, what we’re going to do is going to be different.”

The continuation of the 3-4 will come as welcome news to many of Washington’s defensive players.

On the day Jim Haslett and the team parted ways, Kerrigan said that he believed that he was best suited for the outside linebacker position and that in the past four years, he had made a complete transition from college defensive end to linebacker, and hoped to continue to grow rather than having to start all over again.

Washington’s talent evaluators also agree that Kerrigan isn’t the prototypical 4-3 NFL end, although at times, he does rush out of a three-point stance.

Barry and the Redskins do have decisions to make regarding the pieces in place, and the holes on the unit, however.

The first questions involve which assistants to keep. Secondary coach Raheem Morris, linebackers coaches Brian Baker and Kirk Olivadotti and defensive line coach Jacob Burney all remain under contract. Barry coached under Morris at Tampa, and according to people with knowledge of the situation, would like to retain Morris while also changing the way the Redskins do things on the back end.

Barry, himself a linebackers coach, could have different people in mind or different methods in mind for how he wants the linebackers to be coached, although Baker and Olivadotti are well respected by team brass and players. And Burney’s ways of coaching the line could possibly differ from how Barry prefers.

“Way too early,” Gruden said when asked about decisions on the assistants.

“We’ll go through that,” he said. “First thing was get him in place then we’ll talk about the assistants we already have in place and then other options that are available. We’ll start that as soon as we get back to D.C.”

Then there are questions about the rest of the personnel.

Baker opened 2014 as the starting left end, but moved to nose tackle when Barry Cofield got hurt, and he never relinquished the job, despite some inconsistencies. Is he a true nose tackle, or is it best to move him back to end?

Jason Hatcher really is best suited as a 4-3 defensive tackle, and never really settled as the disruptive end the team hoped for. How should he be used?

Brian Orakpo is a free agent, and the team must find a dominant pass rusher to use opposite Kerrigan.

Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins will become a free agent, inside linebacker Perry Riley Jr. struggled with consistency as he played alongside Robinson, and aging linemen Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen both have high cap numbers, as does Hatcher.

The Redskins see cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson as keepers, although Gruden said that Barry needs to help Amerson get better. There are only two safeties, Phillip Thomas and Akeem Davis, under contract.

What’s ahead:

Mark Bullock takes a look at Joe Barry’s defensive beliefs, and his history.

►   NFL Play offs Game Results

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 21)

#4 Parkersburg South 82     Morgantown 55

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 21)

#8 Gilmer County 42     Braxton County 36

Calhoun County 41     South Harrison 27

Ritchie County 46     Wirt County 28

#9 Bridgeport 55     Philip Barbour 32

#10 Buckhannon-Upshur 57     Robert C. Byrd 50

#2 North Marion 77     Liberty 27

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Men’s Basketball Team Ranked 24th in Division II Media Poll

The Glenville State Pioneer men’s basketball team fell to #24 in the latest DII Media Poll sponsored by D2SIDA.

The Pioneers last week dropped two games as the fell to #1 West Liberty at home and fell on the road to Notre Dame College.

The Pioneers are averaging 80.4 points per game. They rank 5th in NCAA Division II in Three-point Field Goals Per Game as they are averaging 11.4 per game and ranks 9th in Total Three-Point Field Goals Made with 159 three-pointers made on the year.

Glenville State (12-4, 8-2) returns to action this Thursday, January 22, 2015 when they travel to West Virginia Wesleyan College, tip-off is set for 7:30 PM.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   MEC Men’s Basketball Players of the Week

Fairmont State’s Jamel Morris has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after leading the Falcons to a pair of wins last week, including a victory over top-ranked West Liberty.

Morris, a junior from Gahanna, Ohio, averaged 22.5 points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists in a 2-0 week for FSU. He started the week with 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in a victory over UVa-Wise at the Prior Center&nbspon Monday night. He followed up that performance with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists against No.1 West Liberty  on Saturday at Joe Retton Arena. 

Other Top Performances

Jametrius Wade (Concord) led the Mountain Lions to a 2-0 week averaging 19.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game ...

He became the second player in MEC history to join the “20/20 Club” with 24 points and 20 rebounds against WVSU ...

Seger Bonifant (West Liberty) tied an MEC record with 44 points in a win over Glenville State ...

Lawrence DeArmond (Notre Dame) averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in a 1-1 week ...

Garrett Grantham (West Virginia Wesleyan) averaged 20.5 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Bobcats.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November17 Seger Bonifant (WLU)
November 24 Donte Morales (GSC)
December 01 Mike Boyd (CU)
December 08 C.J. Hester (WLU)
December 15 Devin Hoehn (WLU)
December 22 Morgan McDonald (SU)
January 06 Sedric Nady (GSC)
January 12 Seger Bonifant (WLU)
January 19 Jamel Morris (FSU)

►   MEC Women’s Basketball Players of the Week

Notre Dame’s Martha Nagbe has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season after leading the Falcons to a pair of conference wins.

Nagbe, a junior from Lakewood, Ohio, helped NDC run its winning streak to four games with wins over Charleston and Glenville State averaging 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists. She had 17 points and eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end, as Notre Dame eld off Charleston 57-56. Against Glenville State, she registered 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals in the victory.

Other Top Performances

Rachel Johnson (SU) went for 26 points against Wheeling Jesuit and helped the Rams to a 2-0 week ...

Allyson Freiermuth (WVWC) helped the Bobcats to their first win of the season with 24 points and nine rebounds against Urbana ...

Liz Flowers (WLU) averaged 25 points in two games ...

LeAnne Ross had a career-hihg 25 points in a win over UVa-Wise ...

Hailey Garrett (FSU) averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in a 1-1 week ...

Rachel Artrip (CU) scored 18 points and hit four three-pointers in a win over West Virginia State.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November17 Hallie Gunnoe (FSU)
November 24 Hailey Garrett (FSU)
December 01 Nichole Perry (UC)
December 08 Jacqueline Kestner (CU)
December 15 Cara Mason (SU)
December 22 Martha Nagbe (NDC)
January 06 Emily Lohr (FSU)
January 12 Kailee Howe (WLU)
January 19 Martha Nagbe (NDC)

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 21)

Final Score: (12) Utah 86, Washington State 64

Brandon Taylor made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points and seven assists as No. 12 Utah bounced back with a thorough 86-64 victory over Washington State on Wednesday. Utah had its seven-game winning streak come to a crashing halt in an 18-point loss to Arizona last Saturday, but the Utes (15-3, 5-1 Pac-12) recovered quite nicely by making 48.3 percent of their shots and 19-of-22 from the foul line. They also coughed it up only four times while forcing 17 turnovers. Delon Wright totaled 17 points and eight assists, and Jordan Loveridge netted 14 points with six rebounds in the rout. DaVonte Lacy led the Cougars (9-9, 3-3) with 15 points, while Josh Hawkinson and Jordan Railey each scored 12 points and combined for 18 rebounds.

Final Score: (14) Wichita State 76, Missouri State 53

Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton each scored 15 points and No. 14 Wichita State pulled away in the second half for a 76-53 win over Missouri State in a Missouri Valley Conference game. Darius Carter added 14 points for the Shockers (17-2, 7-0 MVC), who remained unbeaten since losing to George Washington in their last non-conference game on Christmas. Dorrian Williams and Chris Kendrix had 10 points apiece to lead the Bears (8-11, 2-5), who have dropped five in a row.

Final Score: (15) North Carolina 87, Wake Forest 71

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had no answer for No. 15 North Carolina in the Tar Heels’ 87-71 win on Wednesday. North Carolina (15-4, 5-1 ACC) shot 60.3 percent from the field, led by Brice Johnson’s 19-point effort on 8-of-11 shooting. The Tar Heels dominated Wake Forest in the paint by a 50-26 margin. Justin Jackson chipped in 17 points for North Carolina, while Kennedy Meeks added 16 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Paige facilitated the offense with 12 points and eight assists. The Demon Deacons (9-10, 1-5) led for only 50 seconds in the first half. Wake Forest had four players reach double figures, led by Codi Miller-McIntyre with 20 points. Devin Thomas contributed 12 points and a game-high 12 boards.

Final Score: (20) Northern Iowa 66, Indiana State 60

Matt Bohannon hit five 3s and led No. 20 Northern Iowa with 17 points as the Panthers held off Indiana State 66-60 on Wednesday. Seth Tuttle scored eight of his 16 points in the game’s final two minutes for UNI (17-2, 6-1 MVC), which moved into second place in the conference with its sixth straight win. The Panthers’ lone conference loss came in Evansville on New Years Day. Jeremy Morgan and Deon Mitchell added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Justin Gant and Brenton Scott both scored 13 points for Indiana State (9-10, 5-2).

Final Score: (21) Baylor 81, Huston-Tillotson 61

Rico Gathers’ monster outing helped No. 21 Baylor pull away to beat NAIA Huston-Tillotson on Wednesday night. Gathers finished with 25 points and ripped down a career-high 28 rebounds in the Bears’ 81-61 win over the Rams. Gathers set the school record as well as the Big-12 record for rebounds in a game. Taurean Prince and Al Freeman added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for Baylor (14-4), which trailed for a majority of the first half before establishing itself as the dominant team over the final 20 minutes. Shai Fields scored 21 of his 27 points in a spirited first 20 minutes for the Rams (3-14), who have dropped five straight games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, January 21)

Final Score: Charlotte 78, Miami 76

Kemba Walker 15 points, Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo both had 12 and the Charlotte Hornets held off the Miami Heat, 78-76, for their eighth win in nine games. Walker returned from a two-game absence and overcame a 4-for-17 shooting night, hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final 1:14 of the game to help Charlotte hold its lead, which it owned most of the game. Wade and Bosh both scored 17 points for the Heat, losers in three of four.

Final Score: Cleveland 106, Utah 92

LeBron James scored 26 points one day after missing practice with flu-like symptoms and the Cleveland Cavaliers easily picked up their fourth consecutive win, rolling past the Utah Jazz 106-92 on Wednesday night. All five Cleveland starters scored in double digits in a game that was a rout from the second quarter on. Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 18 after missing the team’s shootaround because he felt sick. Timofey Mozgov added 16 points and 11 rebounds and fellow new addition J.R. Smith scored 15 in the win. The Cavaliers have scored at least 106 points in all four of their recent wins, which came on the heels of six consecutive losses, the first five without James while he missed two weeks because of back and knee injuries. James said he started feeling sick Monday and sat out Tuesday’s practice with flu-like symptoms. He participated in the team’s shootaround Wednesday and was 8-of-16 from the field against Utah, also contributing nine assists and seven rebounds. Enes Kanter had 24 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Jazz, who have dropped five of their last six.

Final Score: New York 98, Philadelphia 91

Carmelo Anthony’s 27 points and 11 rebounds propelled the New York Knicks to their first winning streak in over two months by virtue of Wednesday’s 98-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Jose Calderon contributed 15 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 13 in New York’s second consecutive triumph. The Knicks ended a franchise-record 16- game skid with Monday’s 99-92 decision over New Orleans. It’s only the second time this season the Knicks, who entered this matchup between the Eastern Conference’s bottom two teams with a league-worst 6-36 record, have won back-to-back games. The other time came from Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in the club’s second and third outings of the season. The Sixers received 27 points, seven assists and five steals from Michael Carter-Williams, but shot just 36.7 percent from the field in their third consecutive loss. Robert Covington added 17 points for Philadelphia and Henry Sims posted 11 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.

Final Score: Atlanta 110, Indiana 91

Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll led a third- quarter onslaught on Wednesday night to help the Atlanta Hawks match their longest winning streak in franchise history. Teague finished with 17 points and 11 assists, while Carroll added 17 points and four steals as the Hawks routed the struggling Indiana Pacers 110-91 for their 14th consecutive win. The Hawks outscored Indiana 36-23 in the third to create an insurmountable advantage heading into the fourth. They shot 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the floor in the period and knocked down 6-of-9 attempts from beyond the arc. Teague and Carroll netted 10 points apiece during the frame. Atlanta’s current 14-game run tied the 1993-94 Hawks for the longest winning streak in franchise history. Al Horford posted 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Paul Millsap supplied 12 points and nine boards for the Hawks, who had six players reach double figures in scoring. C.J. Miles poured in 18 points off the bench to lead Indiana, which has dropped six consecutive contests.

Final Score: Detroit 128, Orlando 118

Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and handed out a career-high 21 assists in the Detroit Pistons’ 128-118 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Detroit’s frontcourt benefited from Jennings’ effective passing as it won for the third time in four games. Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 26 points, and Greg Monroe was not far behind with 24 of his own. Drummond and Monroe had 17 and 10 rebounds, respectively. The Magic saw their losing streak reach three games despite shooting 49.5 percent. Nikola Vucevic paced Orlando with 26 points and 13 rebounds, and Victor Oladipo added 23. Tobias Harris returned from a five- game absence due to an ankle injury with 19 points.

Final Score: Memphis 92, Toronto 86

Zach Randolph finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Marc Gasol scored a game-high 26 points as the Memphis Grizzlies downed the Toronto Raptors 92-86 in a battle of division leaders. Gasol added seven boards and five assists, while Mike Conley netted 12 points, including Memphis’ only 3-pointer during a late run that put the game away. The Southwest Division leaders rebounded from Monday’s home loss to the Mavericks and have won five of six overall. Lou Williams and Kyle Lowry scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, while Jonas Valanciunas chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, which still holds a healthy lead atop the Atlantic Division but has gone just 3-8 over the last 11 games.

Final Score: Dallas 98, Minnesota 75

Chandler Parsons poured in 22 points in only 26 minutes and the Dallas Mavericks had little trouble with the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, rolling to a 98-75 win at Target Center. Parsons finished 9-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range, while the Mavericks hit on 11-of-27 shots from beyond the arc in handing the Timberwolves a ninth straight loss on their home court. Minnesota, in contrast, went a poor 2-of-15 on 3-point tries and shot just 34.8 percent overall. Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and nine rebounds in Dallas’ third consecutive victory. Andrew Wiggins paced the Timberwolves with 18 points, with Thaddeus Young tallying 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in defeat. Nikola Pekovic, playing his first game since Minnesota’s loss in Dallas on Nov. 15, had 14 points in 23 minutes in his return.

Final Score: New Orleans 96, LA Lakers 80

Anthony Davis had 29 points and eight rebounds as the New Orleans Pelicans pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 96-80 on Wednesday night. Eric Gordon posted 17 points, 10 assists and five rebounds, while Tyreke Evans added 19 points for the Pelicans, who outscored the Lakers 27-12 in the fourth to turn the game into a rout. Jordan Hill tallied 15 points and 13 boards and Kobe Bryant netted 14 points for Los Angeles, which has dropped six straight games.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 105, Washington 103 (OT)

Russell Westbrook finished with 32 points and his layup in the final seconds of overtime lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-103 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Westbrook also tallied eight assists and eight rebounds, while Kevin Durant paced the Thunder with 34 points. Oklahoma City, which has won four straight, improved to 21-10 when both Durant and Westbrook go for 30-plus points in a game. Nene had a season-high 24 points in the loss and John Wall deposited 18 points with 13 assists. Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal each scored 14 points.

Final Score: Phoenix 118, Portland 113

Eric Bledsoe scored a career-high 33 points with a full line and the Phoenix Suns nearly squandered a 25-point lead before holding off the Portland Trail Blazers 118-113 on Wednesday. Isaiah Thomas shot 11-for-16 and contributed 27 points off the bench and Goran Dragic netted 16 for Phoenix, which held homecourt for the seventh straight game. Bledsoe added 10 rebounds and six assists. P.J. Tucker only scored three points in just under 34 minutes but played a crucial role in the victory, posting 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Nicolas Batum paced Portland with 27 points—10 of those coming in the fourth—and Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews scored 22 apiece in the setback.

Final Score: Brooklyn 103, Sacramento 100

Brook Lopez had 22 points and six rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets held off the Sacramento Kings 103-100 on Wednesday night. Brooklyn led by as many as 23 in the first half before the Kings trimmed the deficit to two late in the fourth quarter, but the Nets were able to stave them off down the stretch. Jarrett Jack posted 16 points and eight assists, while Joe Johnson added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Nets, who have won two of their last three games on the heels of a seven- game losing skid. DeMarcus Cousins supplied 28 points and 14 rebounds and Rudy Gay chipped in 25 points, eight boards and six assists for Sacramento, which has lost five consecutive contests.

Final Score: Golden State 126, Houston 113

Klay Thompson scored 27 points with five assists to help the Golden State Warriors in a 126-113 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Stephen Curry supplied 22 points with 10 assists and Draymond Green notched 18 points in the win. Golden State, which captured a four-game season sweep of the Rockets for the first time since 1973-74, set a franchise record with its 17th straight home victory. The Warriors won 16 in a row at home over two seasons in 1950 and 1959 when the franchise was in Philadelphia. James Harden went for a game-high 33 points in the loss, while Corey Brewer and Jason Terry posted 20 and 14 points off the bench, respectively.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, January 21)

Final Score: Ottawa 4, Toronto 3

Erik Karlsson scored twice to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Mike Hoffman posted a goal and an assist and Mika Zibanejad also lit the lamp for the Senators, who had lost three of four coming into the game. Craig Anderson made 37 saves in the win. James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson scored for the Maple Leafs, who have fallen in each of their last six outings. James Reimer gave up all four goals on 26 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Chicago 3, Pittsburgh 2 (SO)

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both scored during the shootout to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. After David Perron’s backhander rang off the post, Toews froze Marc-Andre Fleury and shot the puck under his pads for the first goal in the skills competition. Corey Crawford made pad stop in tight on Sidney Crosby and Kane stickhandled his way up the middle and ended the game with a shot stick side. Marian Hossa tallied a goal and an assist, David Runblad also scored and Crawford made 33 saves for the Blackhawks, who halted a two-game skid heading into the All-Star break. Zach Sill scored his first NHL goal, Steve Downie lit the lamp and Fleury stopped 24 shots for the Penguins, who have lost four straight.

Final Score: Winnipeg 4, Columbus 0

Michael Hutchinson posted his second career shutout as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Wednesday to enter the All-Star break with a five-game winning streak. Hutchinson made 29 saves and four Jets players backed up their rookie netminder as Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn all scored in the win. Curtis McElhinney stopped 17-of-18 shots after coming on for an injured Sergei Bobrovsky during the second period. Bobrovsky, who was selected to play in Sunday’s All-Star game in Columbus, suffered the injury after stretching out to make a save during the second period and had to be helped off the ice. He allowed three goals on 12 shots before exiting. Columbus forward Jeremy Morin also left the game with an injury.

Final Score: Colorado 3, Boston 2 (SO)

Nathan MacKinnon scored the winning goal in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. MacKinnon skated in on the first attempt and buried a wrister past Tuukka Rask. Semyon Varlamov then stopped Reilly Smith before David Pastrnak missed the net. Patrice Bergeron had the last chance for Boston, but Varlamov made the stop on the wrister to give Colorado the two points. Jarome Iginla and Ryan O’Reilly had the goals while Varlamov turned away 22 shots for the Avalanche, who snapped a two-game slide. Torey Krug and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who have lost two of three. Rask finished the game with 34 saves.

Final Score: Anaheim 6, Calgary 3

Ben Lovejoy tallied a goal and an assist as the Anaheim Ducks cruised into the All-Star break with a 6-3 victory against the Calgary Flames. Tim Jackman, Pat Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf all lit the lamp and Frederik Andersen made 30 saves for the Ducks, who have won five straight games. Sean Monahan scored for the fourth game in a row, while Joe Colborne and Mikael Backlund also lit the lamp for the Flames, who had their four-game winning streak come to an end. Jonas Hiller stopped 13-of-14 shots in relief of Joni Ortio, who allowed four goals on 11 shots. Anaheim extended its home winning streak to 20 games against Calgary. The Flames were last victorious at Honda Center on Jan. 19, 2004.

Final Score: San Jose 4, Los Angeles 2

Logan Couture had two goals and an assist to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist while Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who had lost their previous two coming in. Antti Niemi allowed two goals on 28 shots. Dustin Brown scored the only goal of the game for the Kings, who have lost four straight and seven of eight. Jonathan Quick gave up three goals on 24 shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Rafael Nadal fights off stomach cramps, Tim Smyczek to advance at Australian Open

It was a tough day for Spain’s Rafael Nadal. Sweating profusely through his fluorescent Nike gear, the No. 3-seed barely beat Tim Smyczek, 6-2 3-6 6-7 (2-7) 6-3, 7-5, to advance to Round 3 of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The match stretched out for 4 hours 12 minutes, but it was the third set which was perhaps the toughest for the 14-time Grand Slam winner and not just because he lost via tiebreaker to his unseeded opponent. Nadal had to pause to seek treatment for stomach cramps during the set after doubling over in pain.

“At the end of the first set, I started to feel my body was very bad, very tired,” Nadal told reporters after the match (via BBC). “I was worrying like crazy. Then I was serving for the third and almost threw up. It was a terrible feeling.”

“I was suffering a lot. Too much. Obviously it’s a very positive thing that finally I have the chance to win, but I hope to recover myself,” he added.

The 28-year-old is still bouncing back from an end of 2014 that was plagued with injuries and illnesses, including an ailing appendix, which required surgery, and an injured right wrist, which caused him to pull out of last year’s U.S. Open. The troubles have clearly shaken his confidence.

“I don’t consider myself one of the favorites here,” Nadal said Saturday at a pre-tournament news conference (via ESPN). “I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win.”

Nadal will have to channel his former self if he wants a chance to even advance to the quarterfinals. Nadal made 53 unforced errors in the match, an unusually high number for the former No. 1 seed.

Luckily for Nadal, his opponent Smyczek couldn’t quite capitalize on all the uncharacteristic errors. Smyczek, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, however, did earn Nadal’s respect, especially in the fifth set when a spectator timed a shout from the stands just so that it caused Nadal to miss long on a first serve. As Nadal glared into the stands in frustration, Smyczek called for a do-over, which Nadal took. He went on to win the point and eventually the game and match.

“What he did at the end of the fifth is just amazing,” Nadal said (via the Associated Press). “Very few players can do that after four hours something of a match, at 6-5, love-30. So I just will say thanks to him because he’s a great example what he did today.”

Fans on social media also noticed Smyczek, and gave him accolades for his sportsmanship. It was even enough to impress the Milwaukee Bucks.

►   Federer, Nadal, Murray reach 3rd round in Oz

Three members of the “Big Four” won second-round matches Wednesday at the 2015 Australian Open.

Second-seeded former world No. 1 Roger Federer had to come from behind to beat Italian Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, while third-seeded former top- ranked star Rafael Nadal needed all five sets and survived cramps to hold off American Tim Smyczek 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-5 at Melbourne Park.

The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up and 17-time Grand Slam king Federer owns four Aussie Open titles and was the 2009 runner-up here to Nadal.

Federer’s next opponent will be Italian Andreas Seppi.

Playing just his 10th tour-level match since July of last year, Nadal ground out a comeback victory against the world No. 112 Smyczek.

“I don’t know what was going on,“ Nadal said in a courtside interview. “I started to have cramps in different places. I was not in the perfect shape.“

The 14-time Grand Slam champ and reigning French Open titlist maintained his record of never losing to a qualifier at a Grand Slam championship, but his win kept fans at Rod Laver Arena on the edges of their seats.

With Nadal serving at 6-5 in the fifth set, Smyczek gave the Spaniard a break.

A fan shouted just as Nadal was about to strike his first serve, causing him to miss long. As Nadal glared into the stands, Smyczek motioned that he should retake the serve. Nadal did—and won the point and the match.

Smyczek won Nadal’s respect.

“What he did at the end of the fifth is just amazing,“ Nadal said. “Very few players can do that after four hours something of a match, at 6-5, love-30. So I just will say thanks to him because he’s a great example what he did today.“

The former Oz champ and two-time runner-up triumphed in 4 hours, 12 minutes to set up a third-round meeting with Israeli Dudi Sela.

Nadal lost to Stan Wawrinka in last year’s finale in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, sixth-seeded three-time Aussie Open runner-up Andy Murray eased past Aussie Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 on Day 3 at the fortnight. The two-time Grand Slam champion’s third-round opponent will be Portuguese Joao Sousa.

Seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych handled Austrian Jurgen Melzer 7-6 (7-0), 6-2, 6-2, while 10th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov got past Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-7 (10-12), 6-3, 6-3 and 14th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

In other action involving seeds, former Aussie runner-up Marcos Baghdatis upset No. 20 David Goffin 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0; Aussie Bernard Tomic took out No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5); rising Aussie Nick Kyrgios drove out No. 23 Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4; No. 24 Richard Gasquet grounded Aussie James Duckworth 6-2, 6-3, 7-5; last week’s Sydney champion Viktor Troicki of Serbia dismissed No. 26 Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0; the aforementioned Sela surprised No. 28 Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3; Seppi erased No. 29 Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1; and Sousa bested No. 32 Martin Klizan 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 1-0, retired.

Also advancing were Aussie Sam Groth and Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.

The second round is scheduled to conclude Thursday, including matches for top- seeded four-time Aussie champion Novak Djokovic and the fourth-seeded reigning titlist Wawrinka. The seven-time major winner Djokovic will take on Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, while Wawrinka will look to extend his Melbourne winning streak to nine matches with a meeting against Romanian Marius Copil.

Also on the Day 4 schedule will be fifth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic, ninth-seeded David Ferrer, and former No. 1 and former Aussie runner-up Lleyton Hewitt.

►   Sharapova survives 2nd-round scare at Aussie Open

Staring match point in the face, Maria Sharapova let loose a thunderous forehand and showed challenger Alexandra Panova why she’s ranked No. 2 in the world.

Sharapova trailed 1-4 in the third set, staved off a pair of match points and survived for one of her most memorable comeback victories in an improbably entertaining second-round match at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The match lasted 2 1/2 hours, the third set alone taking 68 minutes despite Panova jumping out to a commanding lead with a pair of breaks of Sharapova’s serve.

Sharapova earned one back but trailed 4-5 and faced two match points. On the first, the five-time Grand Slam winner unleashed a powerful winning forehand on a second serve that hugged the line. The second was a longer point also won by Sharapova with a forehand, and from there Panova wilted.

The French Open champ Sharapova won the game, held at love and quickly earned two match points of her own. She only needed one, as Panova was long at the end of a lengthy rally to secure Sharapova’s 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

“I think I was dwelling too much on my mistakes and what I was doing wrong, and not really being in the present, something that I’m usually really good at,“ said Sharapova. “At that point when you’re behind, you feel like you’re making a lot of errors and don’t have a good rhythm out there, but I really just kept trying to take it one point at a time, think positively, and change my thought process a little bit out there.

“When other things aren’t working, maybe the mental side of things will help you out.“

The 25-year-old Panova entered the season’s first major as a qualifier and came in ranked 150th in the world. She lost all five of her previous Grand Slam matches before cruising past Sorana Cirstea on Monday.

Sharapova, who committed 51 unforced errors and six double faults, won this major tournament in 2008 and was twice a runner-up. The former world No. 1 exited in the fourth round last year.

Her next opponent will be 31st-seeded Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas, who overcame Anna Schmiedlova 3-6, 6-2, 8-6 at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, third-seeded French Open runner-up Simona Halep whipped Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova 6-2, 6-2 and seventh-seeded Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard blitzed Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-0, 6-3.

Up next for Halep will be American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Bouchard will face France’s Caroline Garcia.

Tenth-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova mauled Italian veteran Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-4, while 14th-seeded former French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy got past Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

In other action involving seeds, No. 21 Peng Shuai pasted Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1 and No. 22 Czech and last week’s Sydney runner-up Karolina Pliskova held off France’s Oceane Dodin 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.

Also on Day 3, Mattek-Sands edged out Kristina Mladenovic 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6); Garcia beat Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-4; Czech Lucie Hradecka beat Polona Hercog 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; German Julia Goerges outlasted Klara Koukalova 6-3, 4-6, 6-2; Belgian Yanina Wickmayer snuck past Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; German Carina Witthoeft drilled American Christina McHale 6-3, 6-0; Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu topped Katerina Siniakova 7-5, 6-4; and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova downed Puerto Rican Monica Puig 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).

On some more second-round action on Thursday, world No. 1 Serena Williams will face Vera Zvonareva in a rematch of the 2010 Wimbledon final, which was won by Williams, fourth-seeded reigning Wimbledon champ and last week’s Sydney titlist Petra Kvitova will take on German Mona Barthel, and eighth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki will battle fellow former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

The unseeded two-time Aussie champ from Belarus Azarenka titled back-to-back here in 2012 and 2013 before being slowed by a foot injury last year.

She will meet Wozniacki for an eighth time on Thursday, with the Dane leading the Belarusian in their lifetime series, 4-3. Wozniacki got the better of Azarenka in the third round at the 2008 U.S. Open in their lone Grand Slam matchup.

Also slated for action on Day 4 are sixth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, 11th-seeded 2014 Aussie runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and 18th-seeded former No. 1 and 2003 Aussie finalist Venus Williams, who will take on fellow American Lauren Davis.

In some doubles news on Wednesday, the four-time champions Serena and Venus pulled out of that draw. The sisters were scheduled to play their first-round match against Shvedova and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain.

Tournament officials confirmed the sisters had withdrawn, but did not specify a reason.

►   Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 21

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


B.Bryan/M.Bryan (1) def. J.Millman/B.Mitchell, 6-3, 7-5
A.Krajicek/D.Young def. M.Granollers/M.Lopez (3), 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 7-5
I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) def. A.Begemann/R.Haase, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
A.Qureshi/N.Zimonjic (8) def. T.Gabashvili/M.Kukushkin, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-3
R.Klaasen/L.Paes (10) def. S.Lipsky/R.Ram, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
J.Knowle/V.Pospisil (13) def. J.Struff/D.Thiem, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
D.Inglot/F.Mergea (14) def. M.Ebden/M.Reid, 6-2, 6-2
A.Bolt/A.Whittington def. M.Draganja/H.Kontinen (15), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4)
J.Murray/J.Peers (16) def. M.Gonzalez/J.Monaco, 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4
O.Jasika/J.Smith def. R.Junaid/A.Mannarino, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
J.Erlich/T.Huey def. D.Lajovic/Y.Lu, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
C.Guccione/L.Hewitt def. F.Delbonis/A.Ramos-Vinolas, 6-3, 6-3
P.Cuevas/D.Marrero def. J.Marray/S.Stakhovsky, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
B.Becker/A.Sitak def. G.Muller/I.Sijsling, 6-3, 6-4
P.Carreno Busta/G.Garcia-Lopez def. F.Cermak/J.Vesely, 6-3, 6-2


J.Benneteau/E.Roger-Vasselin (2) vs. H.Lee/Z.Zhang
A.Peya/B.Soares (5) vs. V.Troicki/M.Youzhny
J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6) vs. R.Berankis/A.Haider-Maurer
R.Bopanna/D.Nestor (7) vs. M.Baghdatis/M.Matosevic
R.Lindstedt/M.Matkowski (9) vs. M.Jaziri/A.Shamasdin
J.Cabal/R.Farah (11) vs. M.Pavic/A.Sa
E.Butorac/S.Groth (12) vs. P.Lorenzi/A.Seppi
I.Karlovic/J.Nieminen vs. P.Andujar/D.Brown
J.Duckworth/L.Saville vs. F.Lopez/M.Mirnyi
S.Giraldo/J.Sousa vs. M.Fyrstenberg/S.Gonzalez
A.Golubev/D.Istomin vs. T.Kokkinakis/N.Kyrgios
M.Klizan/P.Oswald vs. P.Herbert/N.Mahut
D.Schwartzman/H.Zeballos vs. M.Bhupathi/J.Melzer
J.Chardy/L.Kubot vs. D.Bracciali/J.Huta Galung
S.Johnson/S.Querrey vs. S.Bolelli/F.Fognini
O.Marach/M.Venus vs. P.Gojowczyk/L.Rosol
C.Berlocq/L.Mayer vs. J.Brunstrom/N.Monroe

►   Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update - January 21

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


S.Hsieh/S.Mirza (2) def. M.Irigoyen/R.Oprandi, 6-2, 6-0
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) def. M.Keys/A.Riske, 7-5, 6-1
M.Hingis/F.Pennetta (4) def. B.Bencic/K.Siniakova, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
G.Muguruza/C.Suarez Navarro (6) def. V.Lepchenko/A.Tatishvili, 6-3, 6-2
S.Kuznetsova/S.Stosur def. H.Chan/K.Peschke (8), 6-3, 6-2
A.Medina Garrigues/Y.Shvedova (11) def. I.Falconi/P.Martic, 6-3, 6-3
A.Kudryavtseva/A.Pavlyuchenkova (12) def. S.Aoyama/R.Voracova, 6-2,

7-6 (7-5)
M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) def. M.Erakovic/M.Puig, 6-7 (9-11),

7-6 (8-6), 6-3
P.Shuai/X.Yi-Fan def. K.Date-Krumm/C.Dellacqua (15), 6-4, 5-7, 6-5
S.Rogers/D.Vekic def. A.Cornet/P.Parmentier, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
A.Rodionova/A.Rodionova def. N.Bains/S.Tomic, 6-2, 6-2
K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac def. J.Jankovic/A.Parra Santonja, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7,

7-6 (7-2)
M.Adamczak/O.Rogowska def. D.Gavrilova/S.Sanders, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
V.Diatchenko/M.Niculescu def. L.Davis/C.McHale, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
G.Dabrowski/A.Rosolska def. C.Black/Z.Saisai, 6-1, 6-4
M.Barthel/M.Minella def. O.Kalashnikova/K.Nara, 6-3, 7-5


S.Errani/R.Vinci (1) vs. K.Pliskova/A.Schmiedlova
R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5) vs. K.Birrell/P.Hon
C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7) vs. A.Petkovic/M.Rybarikova
A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9) vs. L.Kichenok/O.Savchuk
T.Babos/K.Mladenovic (10) vs. B.Jovanovski/K.Piter
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) vs. K.Koukalova/S.Voegele
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) vs. M.Inglis/A.Nancarrow
S.Stephens/T.Townsend vs. M.Lucic-Baroni/L.Raymond
C.Vandeweghe/Y.Wickmayer vs. D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens
S.Soler-Espinosa/M.Torro-Flor vs. T.Bacsinszky/Y.Beygelzimer
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova vs. T.Maria/R.Olaru
D.Jurak/M.Moulton-Levy vs. Z.Diyas/C.Scheepers
L.Arruabarrena/I.Begu vs. Z.Yang/Q.Ye
C.Chuang/Z.Shuai vs. D.Hantuchova/K.Knapp
A.Beck/S.Peer vs. A.Panova/H.Watson
J.Gajdosova/A.Tomljanovic vs. J.Moore/A.Myers

►   Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update - January 21

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Maria Sharapova (2) def. Alexandra Panova, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Simona Halep (3) def. Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-2, 6-2
Eugenie Bouchard (7) def. Kiki Bertens, 6-0, 6-3
Ekaterina Makarova (10) def. Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-4
Sara Errani (14) def. Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
Peng Shuai (21) def. Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-1, 6-1
Karolina Pliskova (22) def. Oceane Dodin, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
Zarina Diyas (31) def. Anna Schmiedlova, 3-6, 6-2, 8-6
Lucie Hradecka def. Polona Hercog, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Julia Goerges def. Klara Koukalova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Yanina Wickmayer def. Lara Arruabarrena, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Caroline Garcia def. Stefanie Voegele, 6-3, 6-4
Carina Witthoeft def. Christina McHale, 6-3, 6-0
Irina-Camelia Begu def. Katerina Siniakova, 7-5, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova def. Monica Puig, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)


Serena Williams (1) vs. Vera Zvonareva
Petra Kvitova (4) vs. Mona Barthel
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) vs. Johanna Larsson
Caroline Wozniacki (8) vs. Victoria Azarenka
Dominika Cibulkova (11) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
Venus Williams (18) vs. Lauren Davis
Alize Cornet (19) vs. Denisa Allertova
Samantha Stosur (20) vs. Coco Vandeweghe
Garbine Muguruza (24) vs. Daniela Hantuchova
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) vs. Kai-Chen Chang
Elina Svitolina (26) vs. Nicole Gibbs
Casey Dellacqua (29) vs. Madison Keys
Varvara Lepchenko (30) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic
Irina Falconi vs. Madison Brengle
Camila Giorgi vs. Tereza Smitkova
Anna Tatishvili vs. Timea Bacsinszky

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top 10 in the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’

International Star, trained by Mike Maker, scored his first dirt victory last Saturday in Fair Grounds’ Lecomte Stakes and picked up 10 points to draw even with El Kabeir on the lead in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points system.

The Lecomte is Fair Grounds first of three stakes in the Derby points system which determines the 20-horse starting field for the Run for the Roses on Saturday, May 2. The Risen Star is February 21 and Louisiana Derby March 28.

“He’s been training very well,“ Maker said. “We expected a big race - maybe not that big - but he was coming into the race great. We’ll bring him back to Florida and take a hard look at the Risen Star.“

El Kabeir and International Star each have 21 points followed by Carpe Diem (14), Calculator (14), Texas Red (12), Mr. Z (12), Far Right (12), Ocho Ocho Ocho (10), American Pharoah (10), Daredevil (10), Dortmund (10), Leave the Light On (10) and Lucky Player (10).

Gulfstream Park has the Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday as the only points-worthy stakes this week.

►   Shared Belief excels in workout for San Antonio

Champion gelding Shared Belief registered another workout Wednesday morning ahead of his debut race on February 7 in the San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, Shared Belief worked six furlongs over Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic main track in 1:13.20.

“Shared Belief had an excellent work this morning! Jerry Hollendorfer tells us Shared is doing great mentally and physically and that he’s right on track for next month’s San Antonio. Let’s see how he comes out it. 6F in 1:13 1/5,“ co-owner Jungle Racing posted on its Facebook page.

Shared Belief was a finalist for 2014 champion 3-year-old. He finished third in the voting behind California Chrome, last year’s Horse of the Year as well, and Bayern.

“No Eclipse Award this year, but we couldn’t be more proud of Shared Belief and the campaign he had. He showed unbelievable heart and courage in every single one of his races in 2014. We couldn’t be more proud of him or more thankful for this incredible ride. Saying he’s one in a million doesn’t begin to do him justice. BEST DUDE EVER,“ Jungle Racing posted.

The gelding has won eight of nine career starts for $2,032,200. He closed his 2014 campaign with a hard fought victory in Santa Anita’s Malibu Stakes on December 26.

Shared Belief finished fourth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 1 behind Bayern. He posted wins in 2014 in the Los Alamitos Derby, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes. A foot injury prevented the gelding from competing in the Triple Crown races. Shared Belief began 2014 with an allowance victory at Golden Gate Fields on May 26.

►   Eight following California Chrome lead to California Cup Derby

Eight 3-year-olds have been entered in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita in an effort to duplicate the performance of 2014 winner California Chrome.

The 1 1/16-mile stakes began California Chrome’s historic 2014 campaign that led him to victories in the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies as well as the Preakness Stakes and had him become Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old.

Leading the field is trainer Don Warren’s Acceptance. The colt, owned by E. W. and Judy Johnston and Robert Riggio, will start from post 2 with Elvis Trujillo again riding.

Acceptance is undefeated in three career starts including the Golden State Juvenile on November 1 at Santa Anita and the King Glorious Stakes on December 14 at Los Alamitos, the same stakes California Chrome won to conclude his 2013 season.

Acceptance has banked $257,600, making him the leading money earner in the field.

King Glorious runner-up Pulmarack has drawn post 7 and will have Eclipse Award winner Drayden Van Dyke in the saddle. The colt is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams with Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer conditioning.

Pulmarack broke his maiden his third time out at Santa Anita on October 17 and eight weeks later dropped a three-length decision in the King Glorious. He has earned $74,100.

The complete field for the Cal Cup Derby in post position order: Tough Sunday, Tyler Baze; Acceptance, Elvis Trujillo; Mischief Clem, Kent Desormeaux; Neveradoubt, Joe Talamo; Kluszewski, Rafael Bejarano; Chanito, Brandon Boulanger; Pulmarack, Drayden Van Dyke and Avati Bello, Mike Smith, 117.

The Cal Cup Derby has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:30 PM ET.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Fisher grabs early lead in Qatar

Oliver Fisher fired a 7-under 65 in Wednesday’s opening round as he grabbed a 1-stroke lead at the Qatar Masters.

Fisher’s lone European Tour win came at the 2011 Czech Open. In six previous starts at this event, Fisher missed the cut twice and his best finish was a share of 11th in 2007.

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello opened with a 6-under 66 at Doha Golf Club and he is alone in second place.

Ernie Els, the 2005 champion, started his round with three birdies in the first four holes. He later birdied the last for a 5-under 67. He was joined in third by two-time winner Paul Lawrie, 2003 champion Darren Fichardt, Branden Grace, Mark Foster, Moritz Lampert, Byeong-Hun An, Emiliano Grillo, Alexander Noren, Kristoffer Broberg and Alejandro Canizares, who shared fifth place last year.

Justin Rose is among eight players tied for 14th at minus-4, while defending champion Sergio Garcia opened with a 3-under 69.

World No. 2 Henrik Stenson, Alvaro Quiros and Robert Karlsson, all former champions, are among a large group tied 35th at minus-2.

Fisher played the back nine first on Wednesday and he birdied two of the first three holes. He faltered to a bogey on the par-3 13th and parred the next two holes.

The 26-year-old converted a birdie chance at the 16th and he followed with birdies at 17 and 18 en route to making the turn at minus-4.

Fisher parred the first three holes of the front nine. He inched within one of the lead with a birdie at the fourth. A birdie on No. 6 moved him alongside Cabrera-Bello. Fisher moved atop the leaderboard with a birdie on the par-3 eighth.

“I played nice today. It was a little bit breezy and I felt like I controlled my golf ball. I played good and gave myself a lot of chances so it was a good round,“ Fisher stated. “It’s a great field like last week. I’m out there giving it my all every time until the last shot and hopefully add them up at the end of the day and hopefully it’s a good run.“

Cabrera-Bello also played the back nine first in round one. He parred five of the first six holes, to go with a birdie at the 12th. He picked up his second birdie at the 16th.

The Spaniard kicked off a run of three straight birdies at the 18th. That run moved him to minus-5. Cabrera-Bello ran off five pars in a row from the third. He birdied the eighth before closing with a par at the ninth.

“I’m very pleased and happy with the way I played,“ said Cabrera-Bello. “I had a good stretch through 16, and all the way through to two, which for me are the birdie holes where you can go low. I managed to do that with three birdies there, and just kept playing solid till I got home.“

NOTES: Fisher shared 12th place last week in Abu Dhabi ... Rose in playing in his 250th European Tour event ... There were 10 bogey-free rounds on day one.

►   PGA Tour Canada releases 2015 schedule

The 12 events that make up the 2015 PGA Tour Canada schedule will be held between May and September and will feature increased purses, according to an announcement made Wednesday.

The purse for each event will increase $25,000 to $175,000. At the conclusion of the season, the top five players on the Order of Merit will earn a spot on the Tour for 2016, while those who finish 6-10 on the Order of Merit will gain a spot in the final stage of Tour Qualifying Tournament.

“Thanks to the hard work of our host organizations and the fantastic support of our sponsors, our 12 established tournaments are all returning this season in a great position to continue to grow, with a significant increase in prize money,“ said PGA Tour Canada President Jeff Monday.

“We look forward to another season of outstanding golf from our players and an emphasis on positive community impact from our tournaments.“

The first two events will take place in British Columbia. After a two-week break, the tour will be in action for four straight weeks, in four different provinces.

The top three players on the Order of Merit following the Staal Foundation Open in July will gain a spot in the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open.

After a quick trip back to Alberta for one tournament, four of the final five events will take place in Ontario.

The season wraps up with the Tour Championship of Canada to be held September 17-20, at Highland Country Club in London, Ontario.

►   Allenby withdraws from Humana

Days after being beaten and robbed, Robert Allenby announced on Tuesday that he has withdrawn from this week’s Humana Challenge.

Allenby said in a statement released by the PGA Tour, “On the advice of my personal doctor, I have decided to withdraw from this week’s Humana Challenge. This will enable me to ensure I am fully recovered prior to rejoining the PGA Tour. I anticipate a full recovery and look forward to returning in the near future.“

Allenby was beaten and robbed after being kidnapped from a wine bar on Friday night. After he was helped back to his hotel, Allenby contacted police and received medical treatment.

On Sunday, Allenby was interviewed by Golf Channel and he had stitches in his forehead and his left eye was swollen shut. Police continue their investigation.

Allenby, a four-time PGA Tour winner, missed the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii last Friday after shooting consecutive 1-over 71s.

The Australian was replaced in the Humana field by Whee Kim.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Vickers expected to return to racing in early March

Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers has been medically cleared to return to racing full-time in early March, three months after he underwent open heart surgery.

Vickers, who drives the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR’s top series, is scheduled to make his season debut in the March 8 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. MWR revealed on Wednesday that team co-owner Michael Waltrip will drive Vickers’ car in the February 22 season-opening Daytona 500. The team will name a substitute driver for the March 1 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway at a later date.

In December, doctors discovered that Vickers’ body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in his heart in 2010. Earlier that year, he was diagnosed and treated for blood clots in his left leg and both lungs. Vickers also missed part of the 2013 racing season after he was placed on blood-thinning medication to treat a blood clot in his right calf.

“The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before,“ Vickers said in a team statement. “The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing, and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice, and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude.“

Vickers won the championship in NASCAR’s second-tier series (now known as the Xfinity Series) in 2003. He is a three-time race winner in Sprint Cup as well, with his most recent victory in that series occurring in July 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NCAA is reportedly investigating 20 universities for academic fraud

The NCAA is investigating 20 colleges and universities over allegations of academic fraud, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The names of the schools were not named, but reportedly include 18 Division I universities, one Division II school and one Division III college. The Chronicle of Higher Education has more:

                    The cases are at various stages, from preliminary inquiry to awaiting a hearing with the Division I Committee on Infractions, and they involve a variety of missteps, including allegations that players received impermissible assistance from professors, academic advisers, or people outside of an athletic department.

The investigation follows on the heels of an eight-month investigation into academic fraud that was found to have spanned from 1993 to 2011 at the University of North Carolina. Thousands of student-athletes were affected, and the school is still dealing with the repercussions.

For example, the findings led UNC’s accrediting commission, the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges, to question the schools “institutional integrity” in its own investigation, according to the Charlotte News Observer.

As the new report suggests, UNC is hardly on its own when it comes to academic fraud violations among university athletic departments. In fact, it was this growing concern that led the NCAA to establish an academic-integrity group within its own enforcement department and reportedly has plans to grow even further,

“The timing is right to dedicate more resources to this,” head of the NCAA’s academic-integrity group Katherine Sulentic told The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. “Everyone’s antenna is up about academic fraud on a college campus in general.”

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
San Antonio at Chicago, 8:00 PM - TNT
Utah at Milwaukee, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Boston at Portland, 10:00 PM - CSN-New England, KGW, DSS
Brooklyn at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, TNT
College Basketball
South Florida at Temple, 6:30 PM - ESPNews
Alabama at Arkansas, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
UCF at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
George Washington at Fordham, 7:00 PM - NBCSN
Albany at Hartford, 7:00 PM -
Stetson at Kennesaw State, 7:00 PM -
Winthrop at Liberty, 7:00 PM - MASN,
North Florida at Northern Kentucky, 7:00 PM -
Ohio State at Northwestern, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Milwaukee at Oakland, 7:00 PM -
Xavier at Providence, 7:00 PM - FSN, MASN2, MSG
High Point at Radford, 7:00 PM - Big South Network
La Salle at Rhode Island, 7:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia
FDU at Sacred Heart, 7:00 PM -
DePaul at Seton Hall, 7:00 PM - FS1
Coastal Carolina at UNC Asheville, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Florida Gulf Coast at USC Upstate, 7:00 PM -
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech, 7:00 PM - RSN,, MSG+
Jacksonville at Lipscomb, 7:30 PM -
Canisius at Fairfield, 8:00 PM -
North Dakota State at IUPUI, 8:00 PM - HTSN,
NC State at Miami-Florida, 8:00 PM - ACC Network,
Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network
Austin Peay at SIU Edwardsville, 8:00 PM - FS-Midwest
Georgia Tech at Virginia, 8:00 PM - ACC Network,
Seattle at Chicago State, 8:05 PM - American Sports Network
CS Bakersfield at UMKC, 8:05 PNM -
Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Maryland at Indiana, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Grand Canyon at New Mexico State, 9:00 PM -
UCLA at Oregon State, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Arizona at Stanford, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
UTEP at Western Kentucky, 9:00 PM - FSN, MASN2
Washington at Colorado, 9:30 PM - FS1
UC Irvine at CS Northridge, 10:00 PM -
Pacific at Portland, 10:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Arizona State at California, 11:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
St. Mary’s at Gonzaga, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
USC at Oregon, 11:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Loyola Marymount at Santa Clara, 11:00 PM - CSN-California
UC Davis at Hawaii, 12:00 AM - OCSports
Women’s College Basketball
Rider at Fairfield, 5:00 PM -
Texas A&M at Georgia, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
LSU at Tennessee, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, 7:00 PM -
Louisville at Florida State, 7:00 PM -
Michigan State at Maryland, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Kennesaw State at Stetson, 7:00 PM -
Lipscomb at Jacksonville, 7:00 PM -
USC Upstate at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM -
Oakland at Detroit, 7:00 PM -
Wright State at Youngstown State, 7:00 PM -
Siena at Monmouth, 7:00 PM -
North Carolina at NC State, 7:00 PM -
Green Bay at Cleveland State, 7:00 PM -
Northern Kentucky at North Florida, 7:00 PM -
Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Auburn at Alabama, 9:00 PM -
Michigan at Iowa, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Miss State at Ole Miss, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
International Soccer
Zambia vs. Tunisia, 10:55 AM - beIN Sport
Cape Verde vs. Congo, 1:55 PM - beIN Sport
RCD Espanyol vs. Sevilla FC, 3:55 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - Qatar Masters, 1:30 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - Qatar Masters, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Humana Challenge, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 3:00 AM - ESPN 2
Australian Open, 11:00 PM - ESPN 2

Carole Sue Collins

The Gilmer Free Press

Carole Sue Collins

Age 68, of Pennsboro, WV, departed this life on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at Camden Clark Medical Center, following a courageous battle with cancer.

Carole was born January 01, 1947 in Columbus, OH, a daughter of the late Barton and Kathryn (Nicolson) Collins.

She spent most of her working career as a loving homemaker for her family. She also worked in the former Myles Manufacturing plant and the former Hopeland Industries, both of Pennsboro, WV. Carole also was very proud to be part of the grandmothers program at Creed Collins Elementary School for many years.

She became a member of Harvest Time Ministries of Pennsboro in 1998 and was formerly a member of the Calvary Freewill Baptist Church of Ellenboro, WV. She was a devout Christian and loved animals dearly.

She is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, William “Bill” Collins; daughter, Mollie Owens (James) of Pennsboro, WV; son, Patrick Collins (Lori) of Harrisville, WV; grandchildren, Lucas, Marissa, Isaac, Dominic, Bethany, Jackson, Jacob, Emma, Holden, Sophia; great grandchildren, Haddi & Carter; brother, Donn Collins (Donna) of Vienna, WV; niece, Lisa Kelley and nephew, Jason Collins, both of Vienna, WV, and her brothers in law, Ronald Bonner of FL and Charles Collins of Pennsboro, WV.

Funeral services will be 11 AM, Friday, January 23, 2015, at McCullough-Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro with Pastors John & Chad Kopshina officiating.

Burial will follow in the Gnats Run Cemetery, near Pennsboro, WV.

Friends may call from 4-8 PM on Thursday, at the funeral home.

Sudents Named to GSC Honor Rolls - Fall Semester 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

The names of students who attained the Glenville State College President’s and Provost’s Honor Rolls for the Fall 2014 semester have been announced.

To be named to the GSC President’s Honor Roll, students must have a 4.0 grade point average and be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours.

The students making the GSC President’s Honor List in the area are listed as follows according to their counties of residence:

Barbour County: John D. Cockerham, Jr.

Braxton County: Larissa E. DeLuca, Eric L. Hipkins, Erica D. Perdue, Connie L. Roberts, Erica L. Whitney, Mischell L. Workman

Calhoun County: Chelsea R. Hicks, Sarah B. Lane

Clay County: Casey A. Burdette, Julie A. Gross, Carlee R. Hopkins

Gilmer County: Bethany B. Frymier, Larisa D. Gordon, Tara B. Grieco, Athena V. Morris, Chelsea E. Nickoson, Ashley D. Woodford

Lewis County: Hunter E. McWhorter, Jami K. Rice, Vera R. Shackleford, Kelly L. Weaver

Nicholas County: Andrew J. Bailes, Rachel A. Brown, Benjamin J. Neal, Morgan L. Smyth

Ritchie County: Brianna N. Ratliff

Roane County: William D. Alderman, Kathy J. Childers

Upshur County: Skylar A. Fulton, Sarah A. Gillespie

Webster County: Amber N. King, Tonya N. Sahl

Wirt County: Kalob D. Bell, Katelyn N. Deem

Wood County: Jade E. Spencer

To be named to the GSC Provost’s Honor Roll, students must have grade point averages between 3.5 and 3.9 and be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours.

The students making the GSC Provost’s Honor List are listed as follows according to their counties of residence:

Braxton County: Gabriela Y. Bonazzo, Tyler J. Carr, Robert C. Cline, Julie A. Greenlee, Elizabeth A. Jackson, Clifton W. Long, David L. Malcomb, Kristen F. Meadows, Cami D. Roberts, Ryan C. Singleton, Amanda B. Wallbrown, Michael F. Wasylyk, Emmitt R. Wayne, Timothy L. Whitney

Calhoun County: Kaitlin J. Carpenter, Moriah J. Creelfox, Sr., Kelsey E. Jett, Wayne S. Johnson, Danielle N. Kendall, Randy R. Smith, Emily L. Snyder

Clay County: Courtney E. Cole, Kathy A. Holcomb, Tyler C. Mullins, Morgan H. Neal, Lauren K. Stover

Doddridge County: Joshua L. Smith

Gilmer County: Samantha J. Brookover, Jonathan E. Clark, Tara S. Evans, Michaela L. Gumm, Jennifer R. Hess, Amanda R. Lamb, Cody M. Moore, Corri C. Phillips, Emily E. Ramezan, Adam W. Ramsey, Anthony M. Rock, Taylor C. Somerville, Kari A. Sprouse, Valeri M. Sprouse, Abigail L. Stalnaker, Gregory T. Steele, Curtis R. Sutphin, Deanna K. Taylor, Timothy G. Wine

Harrison County: Kolby G. Abruzzino, Hannah J. Barron, Megan E. Ruppert

Lewis County: Whitney N. Alfred, Anissa R. Cox, Matthew L. Herrald, Jessica R. Kraus, James W. Martin, III, Joseph T. Perry, Kayla B. Rose, Thomas P. Snyder, Tori D. Zielinski

Nicholas County: Misty K. Alderman, Sarah J. Cody, Chelsea D. Dorsey, Caitlin D. Gwinn, Carrie G. Huffman, Nathan M. Kincaid, Betul Kudurogianis, Madison R. Martin, Sage T. Recco, Fred A. Roberts, III, Kathryn G. Waddell

Ritchie County: Devon C. Cunningham, Joshua C. Kaplan, Kimberly A. Smith

Roane County: Courtney L. Cutlip, Jason W. Shamblin

Upshur County: Heather A. Gregory, Benjamin T. Stingo

Webster County: Hunter A. Given, Kaitlyn S. Lowther, Elizabeth I. Meehan, Brett M. Morris, Brendan M. Rumney

Wirt County: James L. Lynch

Wood County: Kayla A. Lowers, Meghan D. Ruddlesden, Shelby M. Scott

Burnt House: New Mount Olive Church Revival - January 19-21, 2015 - Starting Tonight

The Gilmer Free Press

Albert Harvey Marshall

The Gilmer Free Press

Albert Harvey Marshall

Age 77, of Harrisville, WV, departed this life, Sunday, January 18, 2015, at his residence.

Mr. Marshall was born November 03, 1937 at Petroleum, WV, the son of the late Walter and Grace Cunningham Marshall.

Mr. Marshall had been employed for the West Virginia Department of Highways where he retired after 20 years of service.

He was a member of the Cedar Grove Freewill Baptist Church, but attended the Spruce Grove United Methodist Church.

Albert also enjoyed hunting.

Mr. Marshall is survived by his wife, Anna Marshall; step-daughter, Ruth Barker (Allen), Richwood, WV; brother, Harold Marshall (Jean), Vienna, WV; grandchildren, Laura and Rebecca Barker both of Blacksburg, VA; nephew, Randy Marshall, Vienna, WV; nieces, Carol Sue Luther, Huntington, WV and Connie Drain, Vienna, WV.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at 11:00 AM at the Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville, WV with David Wayne Veon officiating.

Interment will immediately follow the service in the Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery, Ellenboro, WV.

Friends may call at the funeral home on Monday, January 19, 2015, from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM and on Tuesday from 9:00 AM until the hour of service.

Sports News   150118

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Colts’ Richardson stays home

Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson did not travel with the team to New England for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Patriots.

According to, Richardson did not make the trip due to personal reasons.

Richardson was inactive for last week’s AFC Divisional Playoff game against Denver and played just one snap in the team’s wild card win over Cincinnati the previous week.

Dan Herron and Zurlon Tipton have taken over as the featured backs in the Colts’ offense.

Richardson led the Colts this season with just 519 rushing yards, but averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

#4 Gilmer County 69     Doddridge County 42

Wirt County 58     South Harrison 26

#9 Lincoln 68     #5 Notre Dame 57

#5 Morgantown 67     #6 Robert C. Byrd 59

Oak Glen 67     Tyler Consolidated 45

Pocahontas County 55     Buckhannon-Upshur 50

Parkersburg Catholic 59     Belpre, Ohio 56

Ravenswood 81     Webster County 38

Sissonville 88     Clay County 38

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

Wood County Christian 45     Calhoun County 14

#3 Tucker County 59     Wirt County 12

Buckhannon-Upshur 73     Hampshire 57

Linsly 61     Tyler Consolidated 26

Doddridge County 67     Richwood 44

Parkersburg South 87     Brooke 35

Ravenswood 76     Webster County 53

Sissonville 60     Clay County 32

Wyoming East 59     Nicholas County 43

The Gilmer Free Press

►   MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

Fairmont State 99, #1 West Liberty 83 | Final Stats

Fairmont State led for all 40 minutes as the Falcons handed top-ranked West Liberty its first loss of the season, 99-83, at Joe Retton Arena.

With the win, Fairmont State improved to 10-6 overall and 7-3 in the MEC. WLU fell to 14-1 overall and 9-1 in conference play.

The Falcons shot 58% from the field in the game, including 61% in the second half, and committed just 10 turnovers. FSU led by as many as 21 points in the first half and 26 in the second half to record the convincing win.

Nick Harney was 8-of-11 from the field on his way to 20 points, and Thomas Wimbush also scored 20 for FSU. Jamel Morris scored 18 and Chase Morgan hit four three-pointers en route 15 points before fouling out.

Seger Bonifant led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc. C.J. Hester had 15 points and Joe Lococo added 12. 

Notre Dame 75, Glenville State 66 | Final Stats

Notre Dame pulled away from Glenville State in the second half to record a 75-66 win over the Pioneers at Murphy Gymnasium.

NDC (9-7, 5-5) was led by 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists from Lawrence DeArmond. Will Vorhees had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Falcons shot 50% from the field and out-rebounded GSC 39-28 in the win.

Donte Morales led Glenville State (12-4, 8-2) with 15 points. Brett Morris had 13 points and Reggie Williams scored 12 points.

Wheeling Jesuit 86, Shepherd 82 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit snapped a four-game losing streak with an 86-82 win over Shepherd on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

Eric Siefert’s three-pointer with 1:05 gave WJU an 82-79 lead, but Steffen Davis hit three free throws to tie the game with :43 left. Justin Fritts was fouled on Wheeling’s next possession and made both free throws, and Austin Cunningham’s layup wouldn’t go down on the other end as Kyle Ritz got the rebound for WJU. Ritz was fouled and sank both free throws to seal the game for the Cards.

Siefert led WJU (7-7, 3-6) with 20 points, including 18 coming on 6-of-8 shooting from the three-point line. Ritz had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Off the bench for WJU, Pat Moseh scored 15 and Haywood Highsmith had 11.

Cunningham led Shepherd (10-6, 5-5) with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds. Davis had 19 and Morgan McDonald finished with 16 points before fouling out. 

West Virginia Wesleyan 73, Urbana 64 | Final Stats

Garrett Grantham’s 30 points led West Virginia Wesleyan to a 73-64 win over Urbana on Saturday at the Grimes Center.

Grantham was 10-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, and finished with six assists and five rebounds. Ja’Sahn Johnson was the only other Bobcat in double figure with 10 points. WVWC (7-9, 5-5) shot 49% from the field and 80% from the free throw line (17-of-20).

Urbana (4-12, 1-9) was led by 18 points from Mike Newton. John Summers added 13 points and 10 boards in the loss.

Concord 88, WV State 73 | Final Stats

Jametrius Wade had 24 points and 20 rebounds as Concord handled West Virginia State, 88-73.

Wade became just the second player in league history to join the “20-20” club. UVa-Wise’s Deon Boyce did it three times last year. 

Rob Reed added 15 points, Aaron Miller scored 12 and and Mike Boyd netted 10 for Concord (10-5, 6-4) in the win. 

Dominic Phillips came off the bench to score 20 points and had five assists and four rebounds for West Virginia State (3-14, 3-6). Tyrie Elliott had 18 points and Markee Mazyck finished with 12.

Charleston 85, UVa-Wise 48 | Final Stats

Charleston cruised to an 85-48 win over UVa-Wise on Saturday at the Prior Center.

UC (12-4, 7-3) was paced by 14 points from Jevonte Hughes. Cameron Dozier and Tino DiTrapano each added 12 for the Golden Eagles. Charleston out-rebounded UVa-Wise 48-28 and shot 48% from the field.

Philip Owens led UVa-Wise (1-14, 0-10) with 11 points. Brian Sydnor scored 10 and pulled down nine rebounds.

►   MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

West Liberty 77, Fairmont State 74 | Final Stats

West Liberty withstood a fierce second half rally from Fairmont State and held on to defeat the Falcons, 77-74, at Joe Retton Arena.

The Hilltoppers (11-5, 8-2) led by eight at the half, and led by as many as 13 at 61-48 with 13:01 to go before FSU went on a 12-0 in just under three minutes. The game remained close and Fairmont State even took the lead at 72-71 after 3:32 to go after a Deidra Combs layup, but back-to-back baskets from Liz Flowers and Hillary Southworth gave the Hilltoppers the lead for good.

Flowers finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists for WLU. Southworth added 19 and Kailee Howe had 12 points to go with 10 assists.

Hailey Garrett had a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Fairmont State (13-3, 7-3). Hallie Gunnoe had 19 points and Emily Lohr scored 12 points and puled down 11 rebounds.

Notre Dame 78, Glenville State 66 | Final Stats

Notre Dame led by double figures the entire second half in a 78-66 win over Glenville State.

Martha Nagble led the Falcons (10-6, 6-4) with 20 points and nine rebunds. Kelsey Miller had 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and Lauren Langenderfer contributed 11.

Glenville State (6-8, 4-6) was led by 14 points from Keyanna Tate and 11 points from Kristin Descocher. The Pionners shot just 31% from the field and were out-rebounded 43-34.

West Virginia Wesleyan 69, Urbana 60 | Final Stats

West Virginia Wesleyan overcame a nine-point first half deficit and picked up its first win of the season, 69-60, at the Grimes Center.

Urbana led by as many as 15 in the second half and were ahead 50-39 with 9:22 to go, but WVWC scored the next 16 points to take command of the game. The Bobcats held the Blue Knights to just four field goals in the game’s final nine minutes.

Allyson Freiermuth led the way for West Virginia Wesleyan (1-12, 1-9) with 24 points (16 in the second half) and nine rebounds. Stacy Remur came off the bench and scored 13 points, while Adrian Cunningham had 12 and Mari Stewart had 11. 

Kennedy Boggs had 19 points and Jeni Jordan and Kate Francisco each scored 16 for Urbana (1-15, 1-9). 

Shepherd 78, Wheeling Jesuit 60 | Final Stats

Shepherd remained atop the Mountain East Conference with a decisive 78-60 win over Wheeling Jesuit.

With the win, the Rams improved to 12-4 overall and 9-1 in the league. Wheeling Jesuit dropped to 8-5 overall and 5-4 in conference play.

Rachel Johnson scored a game-high 26 points to lead SU. Cara Mason finished with 12 and Alex Weakland chipped in 11. Shepherd shot 48% from the field and had assists on 20 of its 30 field goals in the win.

Jaana Motton led the Cards with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Breanna Butler scored 14 and Jaila Bryant registered 12. 

Concord 60, WV State 59 | Final Stats

Concord used a 17-4 run in the second half to get past West Virginia State, 60-59, on Saturday afternoon.

Facing its largest deficit of the day at 47-38 with 11:34 to go, the Mountain Lions went on a key 17-4 run that turned the game in its favor. A Rachel Artrip three made it 60-55 with 2:26 to go, and WVSU made a late push, but could not get shots to fall in the waning minutes to get the win.

Concord (4-9, 4-6) was led by Rachel Artrip’s 18 points. Artrip’s total included four three-pointers. Kylie Molisee had 13 points and seven rebounds and Danielle Catron finished with 11 points. CU got a lift off the bench outscoring WVSU 17-5 in that category.

Shealyn Shafer led West Virginia State (5-9, 3-6) with a double-double scoring 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Rachel Ward also scored 14 points. Aurreshae Hines contributed 12 points for the Yellow Jackets.

Charleston 80, UVa-Wise 75 (OT) | Final Stats

A pair of free throws by Monet Saunders sent the game into overtime, and then Charleston never trailed in the extra session as the Golden Eagles defeated UVa-Wise, 80-75.

LeAnne Ross led Charleston (12-4, 7-3) with 25 points, including five three-pointers. Nichole Perry was 11-of-14 from the free throw line and finished with 14 points. Saunders had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Blair Harding led all players with 28 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Katie Jo Dockery had 13 points and Kayla Carey had 10.

UC made 32-of-44 from the free throw line and UVa-Wise made 24-of-34.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Texas throttles West Virginia

Cameron Ridley scored 19 points to power 20th-ranked Texas to a 77-50 rout of No. 16 West Virginia on Saturday at the Erwin Center.

Myles Turner added 16 points off the bench and Jonathan Holmes contributed 16 with 11 rebounds for the Longhorns (13-4, 2-2 Big 12), who had lost two straight.

Texas had a week off since last Saturday’s 11-point setback at Oklahoma State and played swarming defense, limiting West Virginia to just 24.1% shooting.

“I really liked our practices leading up to this week,“ said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “I thought that’s where we got better really, where our focus in practice was a lot better. We competed harder in practice. I really like how these guys prepared mentally and focused. Our defense was terrific.“

Gary Browne was the lone West Virginia player in double figures with 14 points. The Mountaineers (15-3, 3-2 Big 12) entered the contest with the most road and neutral-site wins in the country at nine.

Juwan Staten, West Virginia’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, made just 1-of-7 from the field and finished with three points.

Jonathan Holton scored the first five points of the game for West Virginia, but the Mountaineers went cold from there and the Longhorns heated up with an 18-2 run.

Ridley scored eight during the burst for Texas, capping it with a short jumper for an 18-7 lead. Tarik Phillip hit a pair of free throws for West Virginia’s lone points during the span before Browne hit a 3-pointer to end the Mountaineers’ nearly nine-minute field goal drought.

West Virginia got as close as seven and trailed by nine with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, but Texas closed with a 7-2 run to take a 37-23 advantage to the intermission.

The Mountaineers got only as close as 10 in the second half, as a free throw by Elijah Macon made it 54-44. Texas followed with an 18-3 run to put it away.

“It comes down to a degree of whoever has the greatest will,“ said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “They played the game the way they wanted to play. We certainly didn’t play the way we wanted to play. They imposed their will on us and we didn’t respond to it very well.“

Game Notes

West Virginia hadn’t scored fewer than 64 points all season ... The Longhorns held a 44-32 rebounding advantage ... Texas scored 21 points off 17 West Virginia turnovers ... The Longhorns committed 19 turnovers, leading to just eight West Virginia points ... Texas, which won three games against West Virginia last season, improved to 6-3 all-time against the Mountaineers ... The Longhorns will visit TCU on Monday, while West Virginia has a week off until hosting TCU next Saturday.

►   New lineup yields new standout as WVU women upset No. 21 OSU

Mike Carey shuffled his lineup for the first time this season, and new starter Bre McDonald made him glad he did.

McDonald scored a career-high 16 points and the West Virginia women claimed their first Big 12 victory by stunning No. 21 Oklahoma State 61-49 on Saturday.

Point guard Linda Stepney hit 9-of-10 free throws on her way to 15 points, and Bria Holmes finished with 10 rebounds and 10 points for her first career double-double. West Virginia (11-6, 1-4 Big 12) led 27-23 at halftime before seizing command with a late 21-4 run.

McDonald provided a spark by making three of West Virginia’s eight 3-pointers. Her trey put the Mountaineers ahead to stay at 39-38.

“This is her first game to start,” Carey said. “She came into the game focused and ready to play. That was great.”

Oklahoma State (12-4, 2-3) went cold in the second half and finished with 28.8 percent shooting overall. Some of the shooting woes were attributed to West Virginia blocking eight shots, six by Lanay Montgomery.

“They’re long, they’re athletic, they close on you in a hurry,” said Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell. “When you get by them they’re good at recovering and swatting some shots.

“You don’t have to go very far to look at the outcome of the game. You have to make shots. Our stat line across the board shooting the basketball is not conducive to getting wins in this league: 19-for-66 overall, 2-for-14 from 3.”

The Mountaineers also dominated the Cowgirls on the boards 52-36, picking up their first win over a Top-25 team since beating No. 6 Baylor on March 02, 2014.

“I thought overall our players played hard,” said WVU coach Carey. “We got some scoring off the bench, which we haven’t been doing. It was good to get a win.”

Jessica Morton tallied seven points in 12 minutes.

LaShawn Jones finished with a team-high 12 points for the Cowgirls, as Liz Donhoe added 11. Brittney Martin was held to eight points on 4-of-18 shooting.

“They play a lot tighter defense than most teams in the Big 12, like denying everything,” Martin said. “They play different from everybody in the Big 12. … I think them playing up on us and denying everything and speeding our game us kind of threw us off.”

The Mountaineers return home to face Kansas State on Wednesday at 7 PM.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 70, Alabama 48

Devin Booker headed a strong Kentucky shooting effort with 13 points and the No. 1 Wildcats kept on rolling with a 70-48 pasting of Alabama at Coleman Coliseum. Kentucky (17-0, SEC 4-0) dominated in all facets en route to its second straight blowout win after a pair of narrow overtime triumphs to begin SEC play. The Wildcats shot 50% from the floor, knocked down 8-of-17 attempts from 3-point range and finished 16-of-18 from the foul line. They controlled the glass as well, outrebounding the Crimson Tide by a 30-21 margin, while forcing 15 turnovers to deal Alabama its first home loss of the season. Booker finished 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and Tyler Ulis hit 3-of-4 from long distance in an 11-point effort. Dakari Johnson also tallied 11 points for Kentucky, which remained one of the nation’s two lone unbeatens along with Virginia. Alabama (12-5, 2-2), which entered Saturday’s matchup 10-0 in Tuscaloosa, received 13 points from Levi Randolph and 10 out of Rodney Cooper in its second straight conference setback.

Final Score: (2) Virginia 66, Boston College 51

Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points and No. 2 Virginia pulled away late against Boston College to come through with a 66-51 victory over the Eagles. The Cavaliers’ unblemished record was temporarily placed in jeopardy when they trailed 38-33 early in the second half. However, Virginia put together a 13-2 run and dominated the final 14 minutes to prevent the upset bid. Though Justin Anderson, the Cavs’ leading scorer on the season, was held without a field goal, Anthony Gill amassed 11 points and 10 rebounds to help Virginia (17-0, 5-0 ACC) to its first 5-0 start in ACC play since 1980-81. London Perrantes added eight points—all coming in the second half—along with six assists. Boston College (8-8, 0-4) remained winless in conference games despite Olivier Hanlan’s 18 points and six assists. Patrick Heckmann finished with 15 points for the Eagles.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 72, Loyola Marymount 55

Gary Bell Jr. paced a balanced Gonzaga attack with 17 points and the No. 3 Bulldogs posted a 72-55 victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday. Kevin Pangos hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 points for the Bulldogs (18-1, 7-0 WCC), who notched their 11th straight victory overall and against the Lions. Byron Wesley finished with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for a Gonzaga team that opened the game on a 14-0 run. Ayodeji Egbeyemi had 14 points to lead Loyola Marymount (5-14, 1-6), which snapped a five-game skid with a win over Portland on Thursday.

Final Score: (4) Duke 63, (6) Louisville 52

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is now only two wins away from capturing the 1,000th win of his illustrious career. Krzyzewski’s squad got back on track Saturday with a 63-52 victory over the sixth-ranked Louisville Cardinals. Amile Jefferson scored 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds for the fourth-ranked Blue Devils (15-2, 3-2 ACC), who avoided dropping three straight ACC games for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign. Jahlil Okafor added 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbed seven boards for Duke, which shot 48.8% from the field and went 17-of-23 from the foul line. Terry Rozier ended with 17 points for the Cardinals (15-3, 3-2), who have lost two of three. Montrezl Harrell tallied 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Final Score: (5) Villanova 62, Penn 47

Villanova went unbeaten again in Big 5 play after overcoming its toughest obstacle in the series. It did not come from city rivals Temple, La Salle or Saint Joseph’s. It came from the Ivy League. Daniel Ochefu had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the No. 5 Wildcats pulled away down the stretch to beat pesky Penn 62-47 on Saturday night at the Palestra. Dylan Ennis added 10 points and was the only other scorer in double figures for the Wildcats (17-1), who have won four in a row. Antonio Woods scored 18 points to lead the Quakers (4-9), who have dropped four of their last five. Villanova’s narrowest margin of victory over a Big 5 team was 14 over La Salle on Dec. 3, but this game was closer for longer. Taking a break from Big East play, where they have gone 4-1, the Wildcats only had a one- point lead against Penn with under 10 minutes to play before pulling away.

Final Score: (10) Arizona 69, (8) Utah 51

Arizona’s home winning streak remained intact and the Wildcats regained their standing as the Pac-12 front-runners with a convincing victory over another top-10 opponent on Saturday. T.J. McConnell was nearly perfect from the floor and finished with 16 points and six assists as No. 10 Arizona bested No. 8 Utah 69-51 at McKale Center. McConnell connected on all but two of his 10 shots and made sure the Wildcats (16-2, 4-1 Pac-12) stayed competitive early.

Final Score: (11) Iowa State 86, (9) Kansas 81

Naz Long poured in 20 points and Georges Niang added 15, leading 11th-ranked Iowa State to an 86-81 win over No. 9 Kansas on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Dustin Hogue chipped in 14 points for Iowa State (13-3, 3-1 Big 12), which bounced back from a 74-73 loss at Baylor on Wednesday. The Cyclones extended their home winning streak to 16 games, including nine straight against conference opponents. Perry Ellis scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Kansas (14-3, 3-1), which entered the contest as the last unbeaten team in conference play. The Jayhawks had a five- game winning streak stopped.

Final Score: (12) Notre Dame 75, Miami-Florida 70

Jerian Grant scored 23 points and handed out eight assists to help No. 12 Notre Dame shake off a slow start and top Miami, 75-70, on Saturday. The Fighting Irish (17-2, 5-1 ACC) trailed by as many as 12 in the second half but had enough time to recover and shoot their way out of their hole. V.J. Beachem added 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3- point range and Pat Connaughton contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Hurricanes (12-5, 2-2) were led by Sheldon McClellan’s 17 points and Ja’Quan Newton chipped in 16. Tonye Jekiri scored eight with a game-high 13 rebounds, but star Angel Rodriguez had just four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

Final Score: (13) Wichita State 61, Evansville 41

Darius Carter and Ron Baker scored 18 points apiece to help 13th-ranked Wichita State beat Evansville 61-41 on Saturday. Carter also grabbed 11 rebounds in the Shockers’ wire-to-wire win. Shaquille Morris had nine points and Fred VanVleet added seven with five rebounds as Wichita State extended a record with a 24th straight regular- season Missouri Valley Conference victory. The Shockers (16-2, 6-0 MVC) won their 12th consecutive league road game. D.J. Balentine scored 16 points but shot 6-of-17 for the Purple Aces (13-5, 3-3), who were held to 30% shooting. They entered the game third in the nation in shooting at 51.1% while leading the MVC in scoring with an average of 74.6 points.

Final Score: (14) Maryland 75, Michigan State 59

Melo Trimble and Jake Layman each had a big first half to help No. 14 Maryland in a 75-59 win over Michigan State. Trimble scored 21 of his 24 points in the opening half, while Layman added 13 of his 23 over the first 20 minutes. Layman also pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten), who have won three straight. The Spartans (12-6, 3-2) had their three-game winning streak snapped, a run that started after a double overtime home loss to Maryland on Dec. 30. Branden Dawson paced Michigan State with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Costello chipped in 12 points.

Final Score: (20) Texas 77, (16) West Virginia 50

Cameron Ridley scored 19 points to power 20th-ranked Texas to a 77-50 rout of No. 16 West Virginia on Saturday at the Erwin Center. Myles Turner added 16 points off the bench and Jonathan Holmes contributed 16 with 11 rebounds for the Longhorns (13-4, 2-2 Big 12), who had lost two straight. Texas had a week off since last Saturday’s 11-point setback at Oklahoma State and played swarming defense, limiting West Virginia to just 24.1% shooting. Gary Browne was the lone West Virginia player in double figures with 14 points. The Mountaineers (15-3, 3-2 Big 12) entered the contest with the most road and neutral-site wins in the country at nine. Juwan Staten, West Virginia’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, made just 1- of-7 from the field and finished with three points.

Final Score: (17) VCU 70, Duquesne 64

JeQuan Lewis had 16 points and five assists as No. 17 VCU held off Duquesne, 70-64. Melvin Johnson gave 14 points and Doug Brooks added 10 for the Rams (15-3, 5-0 A-10), who have won 10 straight since a loss to Virginia on Dec. 6. Derrick Colter had 14 points and five rebounds, Dominique McKoy added 12 points and six rebounds and L.G. Gill had 11 points and seven boards for the Dukes (6-10, 1-4), who have lost their past three.

Final Score: (18) Oklahoma 82, (24) Oklahoma State 65

The Bedlam rivalry between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State proved to be quite calm as the 18th-ranked Sooners rolled over the 24th-ranked Cowboys, 82-65, on Saturday. Buddy Hield did not miss from the floor on his way to a 27-point game that included four 3-pointers for the Sooners (12-5, 3-2 Big 12). Jordan Woodard added 13 points and Ryan Spangler scored 11 points with 11 rebounds. Oklahoma’s defense was effective against the conference’s two leading scorers, Le’Bryan Nash and Phil Forte. The Cowboys’ stars were limited to 15 and 11 points, respectively, well below their combined average of over 35 points per game. Off the bench for Oklahoma State (12-5, 2-3), Leyton Hammonds hit five shots from long distance for 15 points. Anthony Hickey chipped in 14 points with eight boards.

Final Score: Ole Miss 96, (19) Arkansas 82

Stefan Moody had 18 points, Jarvis Summers scored 17 and Ole Miss knocked off No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday night. The Rebels never trailed over the final 34 1/2 minutes and led by as many as 18 points on the way to ending Arkansas’ 16-game home winning streak. Sebastian Saiz and Dwight Coleby added 12 points each for Ole Miss (11-6, 2-2 SEC) and Coleby had 10 rebounds. SEC scoring leader Bobby Portis led Arkansas (13-4, 2-2) with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Rashad Madden and Michael Qualls each scored 22 in the loss—the second in a row for the Razorbacks, who fell at Tennessee on Tuesday after trimming a 16-point deficit to one in the final minute. There was no such push in this one. Arkansas took its final lead on Qualls’ 3-pointer to make it 9-8 five minutes into the game.

Final Score: Kansas State 63, (22) Baylor 61

Nino Williams posted 18 points and seven rebounds, as Kansas State edged No. 22 Baylor thanks to a second-half surge, 63-61, at Bramlage Coliseum. Marcus Foster added 11 points for the Wildcats (11-7, 4-1 Big 12), winners of four straight games thanks to shooting 50% (23-of-46) from the field. Kenny Chery poured in a game-high 21 points—but his runner as time expired failed to fall—and Taurean Price added 20 for the Bears (13-4, 2-3), who have dropped three of their last five.

Final Score: (25) Wyoming 70, Fresno State 65 (3-OT)

Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. both supplied double-doubles in No. 25 Wyoming’s 70-65 triple-overtime win over Fresno State on Saturday night. Nance led the Cowboys with 21 points while pulling down 11 rebounds, while Cooke tallied 12 points and 15 boards. Josh Adams chipped in 16 points for Wyoming (16-3, 5-1 MWC), which bounced back from its 60-52 home loss to San Diego State earlier in the week. Paul Watson had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs (9-10, 4-2), who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Marvelle Harris and Cezar Guerrero finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NBA Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

Final Score: Charlotte 80, Indiana 71 (OT)

Gerald Henderson netted 20 points and the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Indiana Pacers 80-71 in overtime on Saturday night. The game was tied 68-68 following regulation, but the Hornets scored the first 10 points of the extra session to pull away. Lance Stephenson netted 13 points, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist pulled down 16 rebounds and Bismack Biyombo added 14 boards for Charlotte, which was without Kemba Walker due to a left knee cyst. The Hornets have already been without Al Jefferson since late December due to a groin injury. Charlotte has won six of its last seven games. Roy Hibbert posted 12 points and 14 boards, while David West provided 19 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who have dropped four straight contests.

Final Score: Detroit 107, Philadelphia 89

Kyle Singler scored 20 points on a career-high six 3-pointers to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 107-89 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope registered 17 points, while Anthony Tolliver and Jodie Meeks added 16 and 15 points, respectively, off the bench for Detroit. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond combined for 28 of the Pistons’ 47 rebounds in their fourth win in five games. Michael Carter-Williams paced the Sixers with 15 points to go along with six assists.

Final Score: Washington 99, Brooklyn 90

Nene scored 20 points and the Washington Wizards split their home-and-home set against the Brooklyn Nets with a 99-90 victory at Barclays Center on Saturday. Bradley Beal totaled 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while Marcin Gortat finished with 10 points and 16 boards for the Wizards, who were handed a 22-point loss on their home floor Friday night. They rebounded by shooting 51.9% from the floor and getting at least nine points from seven players. Jarrett Jack paced the Nets with 22 points and eight assists, while Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez chipped in with 15 points apiece.

Final Score: Atlanta 107, Chicago 99

So much for Atlanta being tested on its four-game road trip. Kyle Korver hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, as the Hawks completed the trek undefeated with a 107-99 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. Al Horford posted 22 points and nine rebounds and Jeff Teague filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 11 assists, three steals and three blocks for the Hawks, who have won 12 straight. Atlanta, which routed the Raptors 110-89 on Friday night, won its four games on the trip by an average of 15.25 points. The Hawks have also won 12 consecutive contests away from home. The Hawks have won 26 of their last 28 games overall and are two games away from matching the longest winning streak in franchise history. The 1993-94 team won 14 in a row. Pau Gasol tallied 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Derrick Rose provided 23 points, 10 helpers and eight boards for Chicago, which has dropped five of its last seven games.

Final Score: Golden State 131, Houston 106

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each put up 27 points and led a third-quarter barrage that propelled the Golden State Warriors to a convincing 131-106 victory over the Houston Rockets. Curry netted 15 of his points and Thompson had 11 during a third quarter in which the Warriors shot 63.6% and outscored the Rockets by a 38-21 margin en route to their third win over Houston this season. Golden State also received a big lift off the bench from David Lee, who amassed 18 points and eight rebounds in just 25 minutes to help the Warriors bounce back from Friday’s 127-115 loss at Oklahoma City. Curry added 11 assists and Marreese Speights totaled 15 points for Golden State, which had won eight straight prior to Friday’s setback. Dwight Howard compiled 23 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, but James Harden was held to 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

Final Score: Minnesota 113, Denver 105

Andrew Wiggins continued his recent tear and led the Timberwolves to another victory, as Minnesota downed the Denver Nuggets 113-105 at Pepsi Center on Saturday. Wiggins poured in a career-high 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting and added nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks in Minnesota’s second win in the past three games. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick has averaged 21.4 points over his last 13 games. Thaddeus Young chipped in with 22 points and Robbie Hummel added 15 with 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who shot 53.8% from the field and 19-of-21 from the foul line. Ty Lawson paced the Nuggets with 22 points, while J.J. Hickson recorded a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Final Score: Memphis 102, Portland 98

Zach Randolph scored 20 points with 15 rebounds to help the Memphis Grizzlies in a 102-98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Courtney Lee and Beno Udrih each contributed 17 points, with Udrih making all seven of his attempts—including a pair of big shots down the stretch. Jeff Green also scored 17 points in his FedEx Forum debut for the Grizzlies. Memphis has won four straight games and also sent the Blazers to their first three-game losing streak of the season. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 32 points and nine rebounds in the loss. Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard went for 25 and 23 points, respectively.

Final Score: LA Clippers 117, Sacramento 108

Blake Griffin netted 30 points to go with five rebounds and five assists and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 117-108 on Saturday night. Matt Barnes had 26 points and 10 rebounds, J.J. Redick provided 18 points and Chris Paul added 12 points and nine assists for the Clippers, who have won five of their last seven games. Jason Thompson posted 23 points and 22 boards, while Rudy Gay supplied 22 points off the bench for Sacramento, which has dropped three straight and four of its last five contests.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Saturday, January 17)

Final Score: Columbus 3, Boston 1

Matt Calvert scored twice in the game’s final 3:03 to lead Columbus past Boston by a 3-1 count at TD Garden. Ryan Johansen tallied in the first period for the Blue Jackets, who put an end to their four-game losing streak. Curtis McElhinney contributed 34 saves to his club’s first road win in 11 days. Carl Soderberg produced the lone offense for the Bruins, who failed in their bid to win a sixth straight game. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 pucks in defeat.

Final Score: Philadelphia 4, Buffalo 3

Chris VandeVelde and Michael Raffl scored in the third period and Rob Zepp came up with 24 saves, as Philadelphia extended Buffalo’s recent misery with a 4-3 result at HSBC Arena. R.J. Umberger and Mark Streit also tallied while Michael Del Zotto netted two assists for the Flyers, who had been shut out in back-to-back games coming in and picked up their first road win of 2015. Zemgus Girgensons produced a pair of markers for the Sabres, whose franchise-record losing streak reached 10 games. Tyler Ennis added a goal while Chris Stewart posted two helpers. Michal Neuvirth allowed all four Philadelphia scores on 32 shots.

Final Score: Montreal 6, NY Islanders 4

Tomas Plekanec scored twice and added two assists, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday at Bell Centre. David Desharnais chipped in a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who stopped a two-game home skid and won for only the second time in their last five overall. P.K. Subban, Dale Weise and Alex Galchenyuk also scored in the victory, while Andrei Markov picked up three assists. Montreal again played without All-Star goaltender Carey Price, who is considered day-to-day with an upper body injury he sustained Wednesday in a win against Columbus. Dustin Tokarski, starting his second straight game in place of Price, made 27 saves. John Tavares and Kyle Okposo each notched a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who were coming off Friday’s 6-3 win over Pittsburgh and had a four-game win streak stopped. Okposo scored four goals against the Penguins. New York goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped just 27 shots and was pulled late in the third period.

Final Score: Carolina 3, Ottawa 2

Nathan Gerbe scored the winning goal with 5:41 remaining to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist and Brad Malone also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won two of their last three. Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots in the win. Cody Ceci and Mark Stone scored for the Senators, who have lost two of three. Craig Anderson stopped 25 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Detroit 5, Nashville 2

Tomas Tatar tallied two goals and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings cooled off the hot Nashville Predators in a 5-2 victory on Saturday. Gustav Nyquist tallied a goal and an assist, Henrik Zetterberg and Kyle Quincey each scored and Pavel Datsyuk, Riley Sheahan and Niklas Kronwall each had two assists. Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek turned aside 34-of-36 shots in the Red Wings’ third straight win. Mike Fisher and Mattias Ekholm each lit the lamp as Nashville had its five-game winning streak come to an end. The Predators also entered the contest with at least a point in each of their previous 10 games (8-0-2). Marek Mazanec made 18 saves in relief of Carter Hutton, who allowed three goals on just four shots.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Colorado 2 (SO)

Ryan Callahan scored in the third round of the shootout to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to another home victory, a 3-2 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche. Callahan also had a goal in regulation in the Lightning’s seventh consecutive win at Amalie Arena, while Ben Bishop did his part with a stellar 40-save effort that included five stops in overtime. Anton Stralman contributed a goal and an assist to Tampa Bay’s ninth win in its last 12 overall. The Avalanche still managed a point courtesy of Nathan MacKinnon’s game-tying goal with just 6.8 seconds remaining in the third period. MacKinnon added an assist on Ryan O’Reilly’s marker, with Semyon Varlamov finishing with 29 saves for Colorado.

Final Score: Edmonton 3, Florida 2 (SO)

With a shootout goal from Nail Yakupov, the Edmonton Oilers were able to end a 14-game road losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Viktor Fasth made 35 saves on 37 shots in regulation and overtime play to help Edmonton snap a three-game losing skid overall. Matt Hendricks tied the game in the third with a short-handed goal and Jordan Eberle also scored for the Oilers. The Panthers dropped their third straight game despite a strong performance from Roberto Luongo, who made 32 saves. Erik Gudbranson and Jonathan Huberdeau tallied the Florida goals, but all three Panthers attempts in the shootout failed.

Final Score: St. Louis 3, Toronto 0

Brian Elliott made 27 saves for his third shutout of the season and the St. Louis Blues beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 on Saturday night. Kevin Shattenkirk, Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who were coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Thursday. They are 4-0-1 on a seven-game homestand. Elliott made 15 saves in the first period, four in the second and stopped eight shots in the third for his 28th career shutout. Jonathan Bernier allowed three goals on 33 shots for the Maple Leafs, who went 0-4 on a four-game road trip that also included losses to Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose. They are 3-12 in their last 15.

Final Score: Dallas 5, Washington 4

Antoine Roussel and Jamie Benn scored 16 seconds apart in the third period as the Dallas Stars downed the Washington Capitals, 5-4, on Saturday. Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Erik Cole each posted a goal and an assist for the Stars, who had lost five of six coming into the game. Kari Lehtonen turned aside 28 shots in the win. Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr and Andre Burakovsky all lit the lamp for the Capitals, who have dropped their past two. Justin Peters allowed all five goals on 26 shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Troicki beats Kukushkin in Sydney final

In the first all-qualifier final on the ATP World Tour, Serbian Viktor Troicki beat Kazakhstani Mikhail Kukushkin at the Sydney International on Saturday.

Troicki won the second title of his career with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Kukushkin. The Serbian took home $80,000 with the win.

The 28-year-old Troicki improved to 2-4 in ATP World Tour finals, with his previous title coming in 2010 in Moscow. He was the Sydney runner-up in 2011.

Troicki is the first qualifier to win the Sydney title since Jarkko Nieminen in 2012.

“There are a lot of emotions actually,“ said Troicki. “It’s been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title. If I look back to where I was five, six months ago, it’s amazing to have a title already. So it’s a really nice moment for me and for all my team. It’s very emotional.

“I’ve got to say I have been working harder than ever probably, and I feel very, very fit. I didn’t have any problems. I had eight matches here and luckily I haven’t had problems. I feel very fresh again. I feel I can go again good on Monday. Definitely I was working hard and that’s paying off. I have inside myself trust in my body, and I feel I can do a lot of things.“

Kukushkin fell to 1-2 in his career finals, with his title also coming in St. Petersburg in 2010.

“For sure I can take something positive from this week,“ said Kukushkin. “A final of an ATP tournament is important. Of course it’s something special, and of course it was great for me anyway because I won seven matches.

“To start the season like that, to win so many matches, to get some confidence, is really important. So of course I take something positive from that. But of course it was a disappointing final for me; Viktor just played better today.“

Troicki will face Czech Jiri Vesely in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday, while Kukushkin goes against Malek Jaziri. Vesely won the Heineken Open in Auckland on Saturday.

►   Vesely captures Auckland title

Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely cruised to a victory in the final at the Heineken Open, a final tune- up for the Australian Open.

Vesely captured his first ATP title with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. He’s also the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.

“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,“ Vesely said. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s a great start for me - I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.“

Vesely battled past fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson in the semis before dispatching Mannarino, who appeared in his first career ATP final.

“When you get broken by someone who’s serving like this, you feel like it’s slipping away. I was trying to deal with my own game and it was really tough today,“ Mannarino said. “I didn’t have the same feeling that I had during the week. I didn’t feel the ball the same way. Unfortunately it happened in the final.“

The 21-year-old Vesely earned $84,500 for the Auckland championship.

►   Watson downs Brengle for Hobart title

Brit Heather Watson topped American qualifier Madison Brengle, 6-3, 6-4, in the final of the Hobart International on Saturday.

The Australian Open tuneup provided the 22-year-old Watson her second career championship in as many final appearances. She also captured a title in Osaka in 2012.

“I’m obviously very happy,“ Watson said. “It was tough conditions again today, very windy. And I knew Madison would be tough—we know each other very well on and off the court, and we practice a lot in Florida. I knew it would be a tough one today. And it really was my toughest match of the week.

“I was happy I stayed mentally strong and managed to get ahead and hold my nerve at the end.“

The 24-year-old Delaware native Brengle was in her first-ever WTA final.

Watson beat Brengle in their only other previous WTA meeting in Quebec City in 2010.

Watson will play Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round of next week’s Australian Open, while Brengle goes against Andrea Petkovic.

►   Apia International Sydney Men’s Tennis Update - January 17

Sydney, Australia
Total Prize Money: $495,000


Viktor Troicki def. Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-2, 6-3


Mikhail Kukushkin def. Leonardo Mayer (5), 6-4, 6-4
Viktor Troicki def. Gilles Muller, 6-2, 6-4


Leonardo Mayer (5) def. Julien Benneteau (4), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Gilles Muller def. Bernard Tomic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (15-13)
Viktor Troicki def. Simone Bolelli, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Juan Martin del Potro, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3)


Juan Martin del Potro def. Fabio Fognini (1), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Simone Bolelli def. David Goffin (2), 6-3, 6-3
Bernard Tomic def. Philipp Kohlschreiber (3), 6-3, 6-4
Julien Benneteau (4) def. Vasek Pospisil, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
Leonardo Mayer (5) def. Jerzy Janowicz, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3)
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Pablo Cuevas (6), 7-5, 7-5
Gilles Muller def. Jeremy Chardy (7), 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4
Viktor Troicki def. Pablo Andujar, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

Leonardo Mayer (5) def. Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
Pablo Cuevas (6) def. Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (7) def. Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-4
Viktor Troicki def. Martin Klizan (8), 6-2, 6-3
Pablo Andujar def. Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 6-2
Simone Bolelli def. Marinko Matosevic, 6-3, 6-2
Gilles Muller def. Sam Groth, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
Bernard Tomic def. Igor Sijsling, 6-1, 6-2
Vasek Pospisil def. Andreas Seppi, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Jerzy Janowicz def. Nick Kyrgios, 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5)
Juan Martin del Potro def. Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Denis Istomin, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Kaymer moves 6 clear in Abu Dhabi

Martin Kaymer fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday and he pushed his lead to six strokes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Kaymer, who has already won this event three times, completed 54 holes at 20- under-par 196. His total of 196 broke the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record. Paul Casey set the old mark of 197 in 2009.

The 30-year-old Kaymer, the reigning Players Championship and U.S. Open winner, will go for his 12th European Tour win on Sunday.

Thomas Pieters managed a 2-under 70, but he slid six strokes back at minus-14. Bernd Wiesberger carded a 6-under 66 on the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and he climbed into a share of third at 13-under 203. Wiesberger was joined there by Alexander Levy, who shot 67 in round three.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy managed just two birdies and a bogey in a round of 71. He fell eight strokes off the pace at minus-12. McIlroy shared fifth place with Charl Schwartzel (65) and Gary Stal (67).

McIlroy carded the only birdie of his opening nine at the sixth. Otherwise, he made par on 10 of the first 11 holes. McIlroy birdied the 12th, but gave that shot right back as he tripped to a bogey on No. 13.

“I’m very disappointed, I just didn’t putt well, yesterday or today. I hit the ball just as well as I did yesterday and gave myself so many chances, but I didn’t convert any. I was very wasteful today. It looks like I’m playing for second place tomorrow,“ admitted McIlroy.

“You’re always trying to improve and get better and I’m going to have to do something a bit better on the greens to shoot a good number and finish the tournament off well.“

Kaymer started his round with his third birdie in three days at the first. He followed with another birdie on the second as he got up and down from a greenside bunker to move to 15-under.

After Pieters inched within one thanks to a birdie at the third, Kaymer rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at the fifth. He converted his fourth birdie of the day at the seventh.

Kaymer’s eagle chip at the eighth lipped out and he settled for a tap-in birdie, which pushed his lead to four strokes.

Around the turn, Kaymer kept his round going with a hole-out par at the 10th. His second shot at the par-5 hit a cart path and landed in a bush. After taking a drop, his fourth landed in a greenside bunker. Kaymer holed his bunker shot for an improbable par.

Kaymer poured in a long birdie effort at No. 11. He stuffed his approach at the 13th inside two feet and he kicked that in for birdie to move to 20-under. Kaymer closed out his round with five pars in a row.

“Hopefully it’s going to be enough, I’ve really enjoyed the course. I’ve had a very solid three days, with only two bogeys in the first round,“ Kaymer said. “I’m a little bit surprised the way I played, but the first round showed me I made the right choice taking it a little bit easy over the winter.“

Pieters had two early birdies that kept him close to Kaymer, but he parred five in a row from the fourth. Pieters birdied the ninth and was three back at the turn.

The Belgian started the back nine with seven more pars. Pieters stumbled to a bogey at the 17th to dip six back, and he parred the last to end there.

NOTES: Kaymer has the 54-hole lead for the 11th time on the European Tour, and he has won seven of the previous 10 times he was in that position ... Kaymer won this title in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and was the 54-hole leader each time ... Byeong-Hun An had his first career hole-in-one at the par-3 15th, and that was the fourth ace of the tournament.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Football League - Playoffs
Green Bay at Seattle, 3:05 PM - FOX
Indianapolis at New England, 6:40 PM - CBS
National Basketball Association
New Orleans at Toronto, 3:30 PM - FS-New Orleans, SNET-360, DSS
Oklahoma City at Orlando, 6:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, Florida, DSS
Utah at San Antonio, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-Southwest, DSS
National Hockey League
NY Rangers at Pittsburgh, 12:30 PM - NBC
Dallas at Chicago, 6:00 PM - FS-Southwest, WGN, DSS
Arizona at Winnipeg, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, CITY, DSS
Buffalo at Detroit, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
College Basketball
Indiana at Illinois, 1:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Boston University at Loyola-MD, 1:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Siena at Niagara, 2:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
St. John’s at DePaul, 2:30 PM - FS1
Saint Joseph’s at St. Bonaventure, 2:30 PM - NBCSN
Albion at Oakland, 3:00 PM -
Missouri State at Northern Iowa, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Boise State at New Mexico, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
Loyola-Chicago at Southern Ill, 6:05 PM -
Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 6:30 PM - ESPN U
Oregon at Washington, 8:30 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
George Mason at Richmond, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Villanova at Xavier, 12:00 PM - FS1
South Florida at Connecticut, 1:00 PM - ESPN 2
Miami-Florida at Duke, 1:00 PM - RSN, FS-South, Florida, Carolinas, NESN
Marquette at St. John’s, 2:00 PM -
Vanderbilt at Georgia, 2:00 PM - SEC Network+
Kentucky at LSU, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
George Washington at Massachusetts, 2:00 PM - CBSSN
Illinois at Maryland, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Penn State at Ohio State, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Colorado at Utah, 2:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Missouri at Arkansas, 3:00 PM - SEC Network
Indiana at Minnesota, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Virginia at Louisville, 3:00 PM - RSN, FS-South, Florida, Detroit, Wisconsin
Iowa at Michigan State, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
Rutgers at Wisconsin, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Alabama at Miss State, 4:00 PM - SportSouth, SunSports,
Washington State at Oregon, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Arizona at California, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Saint Joseph’s at Duquesne, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Ole Miss at Texas A&M, 5:00 PM - SEC Network
Dayton at St. Bonaventure, 5:00 PM - NBCSN
USC at UCLA, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
College Hockey
Boston College at Maine, 3:00 PM - FCS
NBA Development League
Erie vs. Iowa, 3:45 PM - NBA TV
Delaware vs. Los Angeles, 6:30 PM - NBA TV
Reno vs. Rio Grande Valley, 10:00 PM - NBA TV
International Soccer
Getafe CF vs. Real Madrid CF, 5:55 AM - beIN Sport
West Ham vs. Hull City, 8:25 AM - NBCSN
AC Milan vs. Atalanta BC, 8:55 AM - beIN Sport
Club Atletico de Madrid vs. Granada CF, 10:55 AM - beIN Sport
Manchester City vs. Arsenal, 10:55 AM - NBCSN
Deportivo La Coruna vs. FC Barcelona, 12:55 PM - beIN Sport
Juventus FC vs. Hellas Verona FC, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 3:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Sony Open, 4:00 PM - NBC
PGA - Sony Open, 6:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2

Okey Junior Leaseburg

The Gilmer Free Press

Okey Junior Leaseburg

Age 93 of Ellenboro, WV, departed this life, Friday, January 16, 2015, at Harrisville, WV.

Mr. Leaseburg was born December 23, 1921 at Pennsboro, WV, the son of the late George Okey Leaseburg and Lona Pratt Leaseburg.

Mr. Leaseburg had been employed by the Hope Natural Gas Co. for more than 40 years as a telephone lineman. He was a U.S. Navy Veteran having served from, November 11, 1942 to January 08, 1946. He served aboard the USS-LST31 (Landing Ship Tanks) in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. Mr. Leaseburg was awarded five Battle Stars for his service. He was a member of the Harmony Lodge #59 AF&AM, Pennsboro, WV; Ellenboro Volunteer Fire Dept., had served as the Recorder, among other positions, on the Ellenboro City Council; had been a member of the Ellenboro Grade School P.T.A.; had served as the overseer of the Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery and loved woodworking and gardening.

Okey Leaseburg was also a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Ellenboro WV.

Mr. Leaseburg is survived by his wife Norma Jean Leaseburg; one son, Ralph N. Leaseburg (Sis), Ellenboro, WV; one daughter, Twilla J. Brill (Donald Jr.), Harrisville, WV; and two grandchildren, Jason B. Leaseburg, Baltimore, MD and Sidney D. Brill, Harrisville, WV.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Leaseburg was preceded in death by one sister Opal Fay Dailey and three infant brothers.

Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at 1:00 PM at the McCullough Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro, with the Rev. Larry Walker officiating.

Interment will immediately follow the service in the Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery, Ellenboro, WV.

Friends may call at the funeral home on Monday, January 19, from 4:00-8:00 PM and on Tuesday from 9:00 AM until the hour of the service.

Sports News   150117

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Thoughts on the Redskins’ hiring of Bill Callahan as offensive line coach

The Redskins made another key hire Thursday, signing Bill Callahan to a three-year deal to become their offensive line coach. The team has yet to complete the process of finding its next defensive coordinator, but officials would like to wrap this up very soon.

But in the meantime, here are some thoughts on the hire and what it could mean for the Redskins:

• Even before the Redskins hired Callahan, it was clear that Jay Gruden wanted to upgrade his staff at this position. That’s why the Redskins allowed Chris Foerster to interview with other teams for the same position. Teams are permitted to block assistants from interviewing for lateral positions, but the Redskins didn’t in this case. Foerster was expected to join Rex Ryan in Buffalo, but he reportedly has accepted the offensive line coach position with the San Francisco 49ers.

• On the surface, this appears to be an upgrade, particularly as Callahan comes off a 2014 season during which the Cowboys’ line (a unit loaded with talent) helped pave the way for the league’s second-best rushing offense. However, the Cowboys ranked 31st and 24th respectively in 2012 and 2013. During his time as offensive coordinator and head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Callahan’s teams on average ranked 17th in the league in rushing. On average, his team’s passing attacks have ranked 12th in the league. Of course, offensive lines are just one factor contributing to those statistics.

• Callahan is well-respected around the league, but so is Foerster, whose peers have praised him for the work he did with limited resources. Apart from Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger (following his improved play as he moved to center), the rest of the Redskins’ linemen arguably would not have started for other teams. The Redskins ranked first and fifth in 2012 and 2013, and Alfred Morris rushed for 1,000 yards in each of the past three seasons. Things certainly were not perfect, however. Robert Griffin III helped mask a lot as a rookie. But Foerster didn’t have trouble finding work. Some former players have said they didn’t see Foerster as anything special, while others have praised him.  Williams always gave Foerster a lot of credit for his growth and success.

• This is yet another Bruce Allen connection. Callahan and Allen worked together with the Raiders, and Callahan worked under Jon Gruden. The relationship with Gruden should help because Jay Gruden is a disciple of his older brother’s, so Callahan will have familiarity with Jay’s philosophies, and how he wants to run the offense.

• Callahan has other ties here as well. Running backs coach Randy Jordan had the same position under Callahan at Nebraska. And Roy Helu Jr. and Niles Paul played for Callahan as freshmen in 2007.

• Two coaches who have faced Callahan over the years say his lines’ tendencies differ greatly from what the Redskins have done the past five years. He’s a power-running guy, and has been both in the NFL and in college. He may have some stretch runs here and there, but for the most part it’s power running and gap blocking schemes. Both coaches thought Morris would fit well into this style. Yes, he’s done well on the stretch runs, as he presses the outside, finds a cutback lane, puts his foot in the ground and runs to daylight. But he’s definitely a downhill runner. His physical approach will serve him well.

• Look for the Redskins to work to get bigger and more physical along the offensive line. Gruden wanted this when he first came to town. It’s a reason why they drafted Spencer Long, who is bigger than both Chris Chester and Shawn Lauvao. Long didn’t overtake either in the lineup despite their struggles. But this offseason could bring a change. Also, the Cowboys believed in investing high draft picks in their offensive line, and it’ll be interesting to see if Callahan brings that same philosophy here.
• What does Callahan’s arrival mean for an undersized guy such as Lichtensteiger, who did play better at his natural position at center than he did at guard? I don’t know yet. Lichtensteiger is about an inch shorter and 15 pounds lighter than Dallas starting center Travis Frederick. Lichtensteiger worked to add bulk in the last offseason, but it’s too early to tell if he will be asked to do so again this year.

• Callahan’s arrival can only mean good things for Williams. Callahan helped Tyron Smith develop into one of the best left tackles in the game. Williams already is talented, but can get better. He uses his athleticism and ability a lot, but could become more technically sound, and Callahan should be able to help there.

• It’s important to keep in mind that despite all the positives, Callahan alone will not fix the Redskins offense. The line should improve, but Robert Griffin III, or any quarterback for that matter, still can’t sit back there and wait and wait for receivers to get open. Any quarterback who holds onto the ball too long will make his line look bad and take a lot of sacks. Griffin still has to improve his anticipation and timing so this offense clicks.

►   Atkins to replace Suh in Pro Bowl

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins has been named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh.

Atkins will play in the NFL’s All-Star game for the third time. He was voted into the contest in 2011 and 2012.

The Bengals will have three representatives at the Pro Bowl on January 25 in Arizona, as wide receiver A.J. Green and punter Kevin Huber were voted into the game directly.

►   Fox on the Run: Next stop Chicago

John Fox is apparently set to become the new head coach of the Chicago Bears.

ESPN and have reported that the Bears are set to hire Fox, who left the Denver Broncos on Monday after four seasons at the helm. He interviewed with the Bears on Wednesday.

Fox had a regular-season record of 46-18 with four AFC West titles during his successful tenure with Denver, taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl last season. After the Broncos were dispatched by Indianapolis in the divisional round of the playoffs last Sunday, Denver president of football operations John Elway said he and Fox decided to mutually part ways because they differed on how to progress into the future.

The Bears have been in the market for a new coach since Marc Trestman was fired the day after the regular season ended in December. Trestman was 13-19 in his two years, including 5-11 in 2014.

Chicago also has a new general manager in Ryan Pace, who took over after Phil Emery was fired on the same day as Trestman.

Fox also spent nine years as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, leading them to an NFC title in 2003 and a 73-71 record. His contract was not renewed following the 2010 season, and he was hired by the Broncos within two weeks.

The Bears have not hired a coach with previous NFL head coaching experience since Paddy Driscoll in 1956.

►   Gronkowski named comeback player; Bell most improved

New England tight end Rob Gronkowski was named the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, who was second in the NFL in rushing yards, was selected as the 2014 Most Improved Player of the Year.

Gronkowski was limited to seven games in 2013 due to back and knee injuries. The Arizona product caught 39 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns. Back to full health in 2014, he caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 scores in 15 games to earn All-Pro honors from the PFWA.

Gronkowski, who led all NFL tight ends in receiving yards in 2014, is the third member of the Patriots organization to receive Comeback Player of the Year honors, joining wide receiver Randy Moss (2007) and quarterback Tom Brady (2009).

After rushing for 860 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie in 2013, Bell carried the ball 290 times for 1,361 yards and eight scores in 2014. He also led the NFL in running back receiving yards with 854 on 83 receptions with three touchdowns.

The Michigan State product set a franchise record with 2,215 total scrimmage yards on the way to PFWA All-NFL honors.

Bell is the second member of the Steelers organization to receive Most Improved Player of the Year honors. Quarterback Kordell Stewart was selected in 2001.

►   Patriots C Stork out for AFC title game

New England Patriots starting center Bryan Stork will not play in Sunday’s AFC Championship against Indianapolis due to a knee injury the rookie sustained last week.

Stork, who was forced to exit New England’s 35-31 Divisional Round win over Baltimore in the second quarter, was officially declared out on Friday’s injury report.

Right guard Ryan Wendell shifted to center following Stork’s departure against the Ravens, with Josh Kline taking over Wendell’s usual spot.

For the Colts, starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Greg Toler were each termed questionable due to knee and shoulder injuries, respectively. However, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday that both are expected to play on Sunday.

Four New England starters, including quarterback Tom Brady, are listed as probable for the conference title game. Brady is dealing with a minor ankle issue but was a full participant in Friday’s practice.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell (shoulder/elbow), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) and cornerback Brandon Browner (knee) also are probable for the Patriots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 16)

Roane County 57     Ritchie County 49

Philip Barbour 66     Liberty 49

Valley Wetzel 78     Tyler Consolidated 58

Liberty Raleigh 90     Nicholas County 53

McConnelsville Morgan     Ohio 66, Wood County Christian 41

Parkersburg 76     Nitro 68

St. Marys 66     Wirt County 59

Wheeling Park 73     Parkersburg South 71, OT

Valley Wetzel 78     Tyler Consolidated 58

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 16)

#7 Gilmer County 61     Doddridge County 40

Bridgeport 57     Lewis County 43

Roane County 48     Ritchie County 41

#1 North Marion 68     Robert C. Byrd 52

Buckhannon-Upshur 66     East Fairmont 40

Lincoln 70     Liberty 20

#8 Clay County 71     South Harrison 25

Williamstown 76     Parkersburg Catholic 52

The Gilmer Free Press

►   MEC Men’s Basketball Notebook

(Friday, January 16)

* At 78.9 points per team per game, the MEC is the third-highest scoring league in NCAA Division II.

* West Liberty is ranked first in the country in the NABC and D2SIDA Media Poll.

* WLU has been ranked in the top 10 of the NABC poll for 51-straight weeks.

* Seger Bonifant leads the country in scoring averaging 27.1 points per game.

* For his career, Bonifant is shooting 55.3% from three-point range. The NCAA Division II career record for three-point field goal%age is 51.3% set by Scott Martin of Rollins (1988-91). No other active player in Division II is shooting over 50% from three-point range.

* C.J. Hester is one of only three active Division II players with over 1,000 career rebounds. Hester is also fifth among active players in scoring.

* Since 2003, 17 WLU players have scored over 1,000 points including current players C.J. Hester (1,604) and Seger Bonifant (1,062).

* Glenville State’s off to a strong start in 2014-15 with a 12-3 record and 8-1 in the MEC. The Pioneers were ranked 21st in the most recent D2SIDA Media Poll.

* GSC has played 11 games that have been decided by 10 points or less and has a record of 8-3 in those contests.

* The Pioneers have been out-rebounded in all but three games this year. Glenville State, though, doesn’t need to rebound a lot because it’s shot over 40% from the field in all but one game on the year. The Pioneers have also made at least seven threes in every game this year.

* The University of Charleston has six players averaging between 8.1 points and 12.4 points. The Golden Eagles have had six different players lead them in scoring in games this year.

* After a 4-3 start, UC has won six of its last seven.

* Charleston leads the league in field goal%age defense.

* Fairmont State’s Jamel Morris is averaging 27.8 points in his last four games for the Falcons.

* FSU has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all but three games this year. The Falcons were 0-3 in those games.

* Shepherd’s Morgan McDonald has eight games of 20 points or more for the Rams this year.

* Seven of Shepherd’s 10 wins have come at home.

* All but two of Concord’s games this year have been decided by 10 points or less. This is a trend that has continued from last year when CU had 19 games decided within that margin.

* CU sophomore Aaron Miller is one of just four players in the MEC averaging over 20 points per game.

* Notre Dame’s Tyree Gaiter is in the top 10 in the country in scoring averaging 23.1 points per game. Teammate Lawrence DeArmond is 21st with 21.2 points per game. Gaiter and DeArmond are second and third in the league in scoring, respectively.

* NDC is a MEC-best +4.4 in turnover margin this year.

* West Virginia Wesleyan’s Tanner McGrew is the only player in the league averaging a double-double with 13.4 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. His seven double-doubles this year leads the conference.

* After a slow start, West Virginia State has won two of its last three games.

* Since joining the lineup in the last seven games, Markee Mazyck is averaging a team-best 19.7 points per game.

* Eric Siefert leads Wheeling Jesuit with 16.7 points per game.

* The Cardinals have struggled away from the McDonough Center posting a 1-5 record.

* Urbana has the ninth-best strength of schedule (based on opponents already played) in the NCAA.

* The Blue Knights lead the league in free throw%age at 76.4%, which also ranks 19th in the country.

* UVa-Wise’s Brian Sydnor is second in the MEC in rebounding at 8.4 points per game. 

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Nothin’ but Net: Nets face tough challenge

The Brooklyn Nets are primed to trade everyone.

Brook Lopez is apparently the closest to being moved. Deron Williams could be had for almost nothing and Joe Johnson’s insane contract makes him more unmovable than a mountain range.

However, the Nets know this group is not worth keeping together, so that’s a start. This trio is set to make a combined $120.4 million over the this season and next if Lopez opts into his final year, which he will because he has bad feet.

That makes moving these three difficult. There are a lot of factors that make trading them difficult, but economics poses the biggest hurdle. Williams has an extra year on his contract past the 2015-16 season. Johnson is slated to make $24.9 million next season. Oof.

Injuries also play a role. Lopez’s dogs are as bad as it gets and inexplicably large men with bad feet don’t get better in time. Ask Yao Ming or Bill Walton.

Williams is out currently with a rib injury, but his ankles are a disaster. Multiple surgeries have robbed him of any burst.

Johnson is healthy, so that’s a glimmer of hope.

The other factor hurting the chances of moving these three overpriced former All-Stars, other than crippling contracts and frail appendages, is a decline in production.

Lopez is averaging 14.6 points per game this season and lost his starting job. Over the previous five seasons, albeit one of them lasted all of five games and another 17, Lopez averaged 19.6 ppg and now is backing up Mason Plumlee.

Williams is averaging 14.1 ppg over the last two seasons. He, too, has lost his starting job to career reserve Jarrett Jack, but even Williams’ assist numbers have fallen off a cliff. He’s under seven assists per game for the first time since his rookie season with the Utah Jazz.

And Johnson, well, Johnson still produces a little. His scoring numbers are down since joining Brooklyn, but that can be attributed to playing with more stars. Johnson is still a bit of a drag on offenses with massive amounts of dribbling and a preference for isolation. He’s like the Greta Garbo of today’s NBA, and, did I mention his contract for next season?

Williams and Johnson are both over 30. The NBA is sometimes like Hollywood for women, if you get to be that age, you’re over the hill. And especially for Williams, who has an injury file that reads longer than the Bible.

Finally, the Nets are exploring options that make sense. They have lost seven in a row to fall seven games under .500, which, to no one’s surprise, still gets Brooklyn the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Mikhail Prokhorov era of fiscal insanity appears to be nearing an end on multiple fronts. He is looking at selling the team and general manager Billy King is shopping these three salary-cap hindrances.

King has a hard sell to move Williams and Johnson. He should take pennies on the dollar, so long as the Nets don’t get any contracts longer than the backcourt’s.

Lopez is a different story and if reports are accurate, King is making a mistake.

It’s no secret new coach Lionel Hollins and Lopez haven’t click. Lopez has never been a great rebounder, especially for a center. But, if the best offer for him is Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and some other salary-cap fodder from the Oklahoma City Thunder, just hold on to Lopez.

Yes, he has bad feet and is softer than melted fudge, but 26-year-old centers with legit back-to-the-basket skills and solid range don’t come by all the time.

If Lopez was in good favor with the coach, and freed up to do what he’s done in seasons past, his 19.6 ppg would rank him 19th in the league in scoring this season. The only true bigs ahead of him would be DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Chris Bosh.

At his age, Brooklyn needs to do better than a salary dump. That’s what Williams and Johnson are there for, but the rub is, Lopez has far greater value. They need more in a trade than backups. A move like Perkins/Lamb and someone else, absent some first-round picks, could set the organization further back.

The Nets have no one to blame for their predicament but themselves. They’ve signed players to bad, bad contracts, although, Lopez’ deal wasn’t terrible when he signed it. Foot injuries and squabbles with Hollins have taken him out of his element.

They signed Williams to this massive extension. They brought in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to make a run at a title. They hired Jason Kidd to coach with no experience.

King and his staff have to get out of it somehow. Moving Lopez for peanuts is not the solution.


- If Lopez goes to OKC, that’s a great landing spot for him. They don’t have an interior scorer. Serge Ibaka isn’t that, but Ibaka’s presence would help Lopez tremendously. Ibaka could be the rim protector and rebounder which Lopez will never be.

- Also, with the Dion Waiters acquisition and a possible Lopez move, doesn’t it seem like the Thunder are loading up, not just for a run this season, but also for down the line ... maybe, when Kevin Durant’s contract is up after next season?

- Doc Rivers put himself out there in a big way in acquiring his son Austin in a trade this week. Coaching his son at this level is a potentially treacherous path with whispers of nepotism. Plus, Austin Rivers has been a major bust. If he doesn’t resurrect his career under papa bear, the Clippers will have given up a better prospect than him in Reggie Bullock and given him to a Pacific Division rival, the Phoenix Suns, who are loaded with young talent.

- Kudos to the Boston Celtics on rebuilding 18 months after they should have. You have to say this, Danny Ainge is stock piling first-round picks like fringe survivalists hoarding canned goods in preparation for Y2K.

- The reason for all of these trades this early into the season is two-fold. First, bottom teams finally realized that burning the village to make it great is the way to go. Secondly, for those acquiring talent, they know the title race is as wide open as it’s been in years and the time to strike is now. If a team can get that title in before the cap explodes in two summers, it’s good business for them.

- Lost in the stupid nonsense of LeBron James shoving David Blatt to avoid a technical foul this week is that the gesture was probably the most in sync the two looked all season.

- Jameer Nelson has been traded twice already this season. Hope he rented in Dallas.

- Movie moment - Seven years ago, would you have believed that Sack from “Wedding Crashers,“ Michael Scott from “The Office,“ the psychiatrist on “Law & Order” and Jonah Hill’s girlfriend in “Superbad” would be Oscar nominees?

- TV moment - I’m big on “Pawn Stars” once again and I’d love to see, just once, a person make an offer for his or her item, and one of the workers say, “Yep, sounds fair.“    ~~ Jim Brighters ~~

►   NBA Game Results

(Friday, January 16)

Final Score: Detroit 98, Indiana 96

Andre Drummond turned defense into offense for the Detroit Pistons, who tied a franchise record with their seventh consecutive road victory. Drummond took a charge from Roy Hibbert with 23.9 seconds left and then tipped in the winning shot with 0.3 seconds remaining in a 98-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers. It’s been a dramatic turnaround for the Pistons since they waived Josh Smith on Dec. 22. They’ve won 10 of their last 12 games. The seven-game road win streak equals the mark set Jan. 18 - Feb. 22, 2002. Brandon Jennings led the way with a season-high 37 points for Detroit. He went 8-of-13 from 3-point range and made all nine of his foul shots. Drummond had 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Greg Monroe scored 11 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 10. Hibbert had 14 points, while David West and Damjan Rudez each scored 13 for the Pacers, who have lost three in a row.

Final Score: Memphis 106, Orlando 96

Jeff Green made his presence known in his second game with the Grizzlies, scoring 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead Memphis past the pesky Orlando Magic 106-96 on Friday. Green, acquired in three-team deal on Monday, threw down a thunderous dunk over Victor Oladipo in the third quarter and added two more slams after the Magic cut their deficit to four down the stretch. All five Memphis starters finished in double figures. Marc Gasol filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, while Zach Randolph chipped in with 18 points and 12 boards. Elfrid Payton recorded the third double-double of his rookie season with 22 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who were coming off surprising wins over the Bulls and Rockets.

Final Score: Philadelphia 96, New Orleans 81

The Philadelphia 76ers were on the winning end of a blowout for a change. Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter- Williams filled the stat sheet against the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans and the Sixers led wire-to-wire in a 96-81 win Friday night, the most lopsided of their eight victories this season. The Sixers took care of the ball, going nearly two quarters without turning it over during one stretch. Their 19-point lead in the fourth quarter was a season-best. Noel had 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks and Carter-Williams scored 22 with seven assists and six rebounds, but neither had to contend with two of the Pelicans’ best players. New Orleans big man Anthony Davis sat with a sprained left toe he suffered in Wednesday’s win over Detroit and point guard Jrue Holiday, the former Sixer, missed a second game with right ankle inflammation. Robert Covington scored 18 points and Luc Mbah a Moute had 13 for the Sixers, who entered the game on a two-game skid after falling to Eastern Conference division leaders Atlanta and Toronto.

Final Score: Brooklyn 102, Washington 80

Jarrett Jack stuffed the stat sheet and Brook Lopez shook off trade rumors and scored 26 points as the Brooklyn Nets stunned the Washington Wizards, 102-80, in the opener of a home-and-home series. Jack led Brooklyn with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds while Lopez, who has been the topic of trade speculation this week, gave 26 in just 23 minutes off the bench. Multiple media outlets have reported discussed deals that would send Lopez, who has spent his entire career in Brooklyn, to either Charlotte or Oklahoma City. Mason Plumlee finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double- double in the last six games. The Nets snapped a seven-game losing skid. John Wall had 13 points and six assists for Washington, winners in five of its last six games. Kris Humphries added 12 and a team-high eight boards off the bench.

Final Score: Chicago 119, Boston 103

Derrick Rose had 29 points and 10 assists and Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the short-handed Chicago Bulls to a 119-103 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday. The Central Division-leading Bulls were without big man Joakim Noah, who suffered a right ankle injury in the second quarter of Wednesday’s loss to Washington and will reportedly undergo an MRI on Saturday. Still, they led for the final 18-plus minutes, pulling away with a big run in the fourth quarter to avoid what would have been a season-high third loss in a row. Jimmy Butler had 22 points in the win, which was just Chicago’s second in six games since a 10-1 stretch. Jared Sullinger scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, who have dropped 11 of their last 14. Brandon Bass added 16 points and Kelly Olynyk scored 14, both off the bench.

Final Score: Atlanta 110, Toronto 89

The Atlanta Hawks having to enter Air Canada Centre to play the Toronto Raptors looked to be a tough test for the Eastern Conference leaders. The Hawks didn’t make it look that way. Al Horford scored 22 points and helped Atlanta to its 11th straight win in a 110-89 decision over the Raptors on Friday night. Horford, who made all eight of his field goal attempts, added five rebounds and five assists for a Hawks team that also won its 11th straight road game, extending the franchise record. Atlanta has not won 11 straight overall since it did so in 1997-98. The franchise record for consecutive wins is 14 from Nov. 16-Dec. 14, 1993. Paul Millsap added 16 points with eight rebounds, while Jeff Teague registered 13 points and nine assists in the win. DeMar DeRozan, playing in his second game since a return from a groin injury, led the Raptors with 25 points. James Johnson added 17 points off the bench.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 127, Golden State 115

The Thunder may be the odd team out in the current playoff picture, but they proved Friday they can still beat the NBA’s best. Russell Westbrook recorded a monster triple-double, Kevin Durant scored 36 points and Serge Ibaka added 27 as Oklahoma City rolled past the Golden State Warriors 127-115 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Westbrook finished with 17 points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds the Thunder, who were coming off Thursday’s loss in Houston and entered play 3 1/2 games behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Plenty of time remains before the postseason, and a win over a Warriors squad that came in 31-5 will surely give them confidence going forward, especially since they led the entire second half. Klay Thompson paced Golden State with 32 points, but the Warriors, who played without Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala, were beaten handily on the glass 54-43 en route to having their eight-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: Dallas 97, Denver 89

Dirk Nowitzki rested Wednesday against the Nuggets and the Mavericks suffered their third defeat in four games. The bounce-back game for the veteran power forward helped Dallas exact some revenge with a wire-to-wire victory. Nowitzki poured in 25 points to pace the Mavericks to a 97-89 victory over Denver Friday at American Airlines Center. Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler all sat out Wednesday, but the trio of starters returned Friday and were big contributors. Chandler had 11 points and 16 rebounds. Rondo was held to just two points, but he chipped in nine rebounds and eight assists. Chandler Parsons scored 18 points and Monta Ellis had 14 for the Mavs. Arron Afflalo had 16 points, and JJ Hickson scored 13 and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Nuggets. Ty Lawson scored 11 to go with 12 assists and six boards for Denver, which posted a 114-107 home win Wednesday. Jameer Nelson, who made his Nuggets debut after being traded from Boston, scored 14 to go with seven assists.

Final Score: San Antonio 110, Portland 96

The last time the San Antonio Spurs played the Portland Trail Blazers, both teams were engaged in a triple overtime thriller with the Blazers coming out on top. The Spurs made sure no extra time was needed on Friday night. Kawhi Leonard returned to the lineup to lead the Spurs with 20 points in a 110-96 win over the Blazers at AT&T Center. Leonard returned after a 15-game absence due to a torn ligament in his right hand. He had not played since Dec. 15. Danny Green deposited 19 points and Patty Mills added 18 points off the bench for San Antonio, which has won four of its last five. LaMarcus Aldridge tallied 24 points with eight rebounds and Damian Lillard, who scored 43 points in the 129-119 triple overtime win on Dec. 19, went for 23 points and five assists in this one.

Final Score: Phoenix 110, Minnesota 99

Goran Dragic finished with 21 points and eight assists as the Phoenix Suns cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 110-99 victory on Friday. Gerald Green scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, Eric Bledsoe chipped in 16 and Alex Len pulled down a game- high 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have won five straight home games. Mo Williams netted 26 points, half of his career-high output from Tuesday, Andrew Wiggins scored 17 and Thaddeus Young finished with 13 points, eight boards and six assists for the Timberwolves, who were unable to build upon their 107-100 win over Cleveland on Tuesday that ended a 15-game skid.

Final Score: Utah 94, LA Lakers 85

Gordon Hayward tallied 31 points and seven assists and the Utah Jazz topped the Kobe Bryant-less LA Lakers, 94-85, on Friday. Trey Burke added 20 points and Derrick Favors posted 18 and 10 rebounds for Utah, which snapped a three-game losing skid. Hayward shot 12- for-18 from the floor, 4-for-7 from behind the arc and made all three of his free throws. The Jazz finished 10-for-10 from the stripe as a team. Bryant, who posted a career-high 17 assists in Thursday’s loss to Cleveland, was given the night off to rest. Nick Young paced Los Angeles in his absence with 23 points off the bench, including 13-for-13 from the foul line, and Jordan Hill had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Final Score: Miami 95, Sacramento 83

Chris Bosh scored 30 points and Luol Deng added 25 to guide the Miami Heat to a 95-83 win over the Sacramento Kings. Heat star Dwyane Wade didn’t play in his second straight game due to a strained left hamstring. Miami was also without Chris Andersen (illness), but managed to win for the third time in four games. Shabazz Napier had 12 points for Miami, which led by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter. DeMarcus Cousins scored 17 to go with 11 rebounds to pace the Kings, who lost their second in a row. Cousins committed eight of Sacramento’s 15 turnovers, which led to 17 Miami points.

Final Score: Cleveland 126, LA Clippers 121

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 69 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers went into Staples Center and beat the LA Clippers 126-121 on Friday. Irving scored a game-high 37 points, hitting 12-for-18 from the floor and five of his seven 3-point attempts. James continued his strong play since missing a career-high eight straight games with knee and back injuries, tallying 32 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Tristan Thompson filled in admirably for the injured Kevin Love, adding 24 points and 12 boards in the spot start. Love missed the game with back spasms. Cleveland, which had lost six in a row before arriving at Staples Center for Thursday’s game against the Lakers, has won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game win streak in mid- December.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Pirates sign Korean SS Kang to 4-year deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed infielder Jung Ho Kang to a four-year contract with a club option for the 2019 season.

Kang hit .356 with 36 doubles, 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games with the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2014. He led the league in slugging%age (.739) and OPS (1.198) while ranking second in on-base%age (.459), home runs and total bases (309).

“First I want to thank the Nexen Heroes for allowing me the challenge of competing at a major league level,“ said Kang in a statement Friday. “I’m very excited and humbled by this opportunity. I look forward to joining a great group of teammates and I am ready to work hard to help the Pirates win any way that I can.“

Kang made all 113 defensive appearances at shortstop in 2014. Jordy Mercer will begin spring training as the starting shortstop for the Pirates.

Mercer hit .255 with 12 home runs, 27 doubles and 55 RBI in a career-high 149 games last season.

“We appreciate and respect Kang’s accomplishments in Korea and look forward to helping him positively impact our major league team,“ said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. “He will complement our existing club with his offensive ability and defensive versatility. Our focus at the present time is helping him transition to the United States and to the major leagues. Our ability to help him with this transition will be key for him to reach his potential as a major league player.“

A four-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time All-Star in the KBO, Kang has produced a .298 batting average, 193 doubles, 139 home runs and 545 RBI in his nine seasons (902 games) of play in Korea.

He played shortstop, third base, second base, catcher and first base in Korea.

►   Nationals avoid arbitration with Strasburg, Storen

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen on Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Strasburg will reportedly earn $7.4 million in 2015 after going 14-11 with 3.14 ERA in 34 starts last season. His 242 strikeouts tied with Johnny Cueto for most in the NL.

The 26-year-old Strasburg is 43-30 with a 3.02 ERA in 109 career starts with the Nationals.

Storen, who is set to be Washington’s closer in 2015, allowed just seven earned runs all year. He went 2-1 with 11 saves and a 1.12 ERA.

The 27-year-old Storen, who will reportedly make $5.7 million in 2015, is 19-11 with 66 saves and a 2.94 ERA in 297 career games with the Nationals.

►   Drew returns to Yankees with one-year deal

The New York Yankees have signed infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but reports earlier this month indicated the deal to be worth $5 million.

Drew has spent much of his nine-year career at shortstop, but will likely be the Yankees’ first option at second base in spring training. He played 34 games at second base for New York last season after being acquired from Boston on July 31.

The 31-year-old veteran struggled to even find a home last year after becoming a free agent following the 2013 campaign with the Red Sox. He didn’t accept Boston’s qualifying offer and finally re-signed with the Red Sox on May 21.

After appearing in 39 games with the Red Sox, he was dealt to the Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson and went on to hit just .150 with three homers and 15 runs batted in for New York. Overall, Drew batted just .162 in a combined 85 games.

In 1,021 games with the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics and Diamondbacks, Drew is a career .256 hitter with 97 homers and 442 RBI. He was selected by Arizona in the first round of the 2004 draft.

The Yankees designated outfielder Eury Perez for assignment to open a roster spot.

►   D-backs avoid arbitration with Hellickson

The Arizona Diamondbacks and newly-acquired pitcher Jeremy Hellickson avoided arbitration Friday, agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2015 season.

Arizona acquired Hellickson from the Rays via trade in November.

Hellickson was named the AL’s top rookie after compiling a 13-10 record with a 2.95 earned run average in 29 starts for the Rays in 2011. He followed up with back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins, but struggled to a 1-5 record with a 4.52 ERA during an injury-plagued 2014 campaign.

The 27-year-old right-hander was limited to just 13 starts last season after undergoing surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow.

Hellickson owns a career 40-36 record with a 3.78 ERA over 115 major league games, all but seven of which have been starts.

►   Rangers agree to 1-year deal with Detwiler

The Texas Rangers and pitcher Ross Detwiler have agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Rangers acquired Detwiler from Washington in a December trade, sending a pair of minor leaguers to the Nationals.

After missing most of the 2013 season because of back issues, Detwiler went 2-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 47 relief appearances for the Nationals last season. He had been used as both a starter and reliever over the course of his seven-year career, but last season pitched exclusively out of the bullpen.

Texas is expected to give him an opportunity to start, but he could also be used in a setup role.

The 28-year-old left-hander has compiled a 20-32 record with a 3.82 ERA in 132 career games, including 69 starts. His most productive campaign came in 2012 when he went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 33 games (27 starts).

►   Brewers avoid arbitration with Parra

The Milwaukee Brewers avoided arbitration with outfielder Gerardo Parra by agreeing to a one-year deal Friday.

The deal is reportedly worth $6.2375 million.

Parra was acquired by the Brewers on July 31 in a trade with Arizona for minor leaguers Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger. He hit .261 with nine home runs, 22 doubles and 40 RBI in 150 combined games in 2014.

The two-time Gold Glove winner is a career .274 hitter with 42 homers, 146 doubles and 260 RBI in 833 games with Arizona and Milwaukee.

►   Blue Jays avoid arbitration with Saunders, Estrada

The Toronto Blue Jays agreed to terms on one-year contracts with outfielder Michael Saunders and pitcher Marco Estrada on Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Saunders will receive $2.875 million in 2015, while Estrada is set to earn $3.9 million.

Saunders was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Mariners in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ last month. He hit .273 with eight homers, 34 RBI and a career-best .341 on-base%age in 78 games last season.

The 28-year-old Saunders is a career .231 hitter with 51 homers and 182 RBI over 553 games with Seattle.

Toronto acquired Estrada from Milwaukee in a November trade, sending Adam Lind to the Brewers. The right-hander went 7-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 39 games (18 starts) last season.

The 31-year-old Estrada is 23-26 with a 4.23 ERA over 154 career games (71 starts) with the Nationals and Brewers.

►   Athletics agree to deals with Reddick, Lawrie

The Oakland Athletics have agreed to one- year contracts with five arbitration-eligible players, including outfielder Josh Reddick and third baseman Brett Lawrie.

Others agreeing to deals were pitcher Ryan Cook and outfielders Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld.

Reddick appeared in just 109 games last season because of injuries and slugged 12 homers while driving in 54 runs and batting .264.

Lawrie joined the Athletics in a November trade from Toronto. He hit .247 with 12 homers and 38 RBI in 70 games for the Blue Jays.

Cook was 1-3 with a 3.42 ERA and one save in 54 games last season, while Gentry hit .254 and led the Athletics with 20 stolen bases despite two stints on the disabled list. Fuld split time last season with Oakland and Minnesota, batting .239 in 113 games.

►   Pirates avoid arbitration with 9, including Harrison

The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms with nine players on contracts for the 2015 season, including All-Star Josh Harrison.

The Pirates also avoided arbitration by coming to terms with catchers Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli, outfielder Travis Snider, infielder Sean Rodriguez and relievers Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Jared Hughes and Antonio Bastardo.

Harrison finished ninth in the voting for NL MVP after batting .315 with 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 18 stolen bases and a .347 on-base%age in 143 games—all career highs.

He finished four points behind NL batting champion Justin Morneau of Colorado and one point ahead of teammate Andrew McCutchen for second place.

Snider batted .264 with 13 homers in 140 games last season and Stewart hit a career-high .294 in 49 games.

Cervelli, the longtime Yankees backup who was acquired in November for pitcher Justin Wilson, hit .301 with a .370 on-base%age in 49 games.

Watson tied for the NL lead with 78 appearances out of the bullpen, finishing with a 10-2 record and 1.63 ERA. Melancon pitched in 72 games out of the pen, compiling a career-high 33 saves in 37 chances with a 1.90 ERA. Hughes had a 1.96 ERA in 63 appearances.

Last month, the Pirates acquired Bastardo from Philadelphia and Rodriguez from Tampa Bay, both for minor league pitchers. Bastardo had a 3.94 ERA in 67 games out of the bullpen during his sixth season for the Phillies.

Rodriguez clubbed 12 homers with 41 RBI despite a meager .211 average in his fifth season with the Rays. He was acquired from Tampa Bay in December for a player to be named later, which ended up being minor league pitcher Buddy Borden.

►   Orioles come to terms with four, including Wieters

The Baltimore Orioles have come to terms with four of their marquee players, thus avoiding arbitration hearings.

All-Star catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Chris Davis and pitchers Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz each reached one-year agreements with the team on Friday.

Wieters played just 26 games last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. The three-time All-Star is a career .257 hitter with 92 home runs over his six big-league seasons—all with the Orioles.

Davis batted just.196 last season with 26 homers and 72 RBI before being suspended 25 games for amphetamine use. The 2013 AL home run and RBI champ will miss Opening Day due to the suspension.

Tillman went 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA in a career-high 34 starts last season, while Matusz had another solid year out of the bullpen, pitching to a 3.48 ERA in 63 appearances.

►   Nationals, Fister agree to $11.4 million deal

The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration with starting pitcher Doug Fister by agreeing to terms on a one- year contract with the right-hander.

Comcast SportsNet Washington reported that Fister will earn $11.4 million in 2015, his final season before entering free agency.

Fister is coming off an outstanding first season with Washington, who acquired the 30-year-old in a trade with Detroit in December of 2013. He compiled a 16-6 record in 25 starts for the National League East champion Nationals, while Fister’s 2.41 ERA ranked fourth in the NL.

The 16 wins were a career high for Fister, who has gone 51-38 with a 3.11 ERA over the last four seasons.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Friday, January 16)

Final Score: NY Islanders 6, Pittsburgh 3

Kyle Okposo notched his first career hat trick, including the game-winner in the third period, and totaled four goals as the New York Islanders rallied for a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ryan Strome and Michael Grabner had the other goals, while Josh Bailey and John Tavares each posted three assists for the Islanders, who have won four straight games. Jaroslav Halak turned away 21 shots in the win. Sidney Crosby had two goals and an assist, while David Perron also scored for the Penguins, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Marc-Andre Fleury was tagged for five goals on 34 shots.

Final Score: Vancouver 3, Carolina 0

Ryan Miller made 28 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and second in as many nights as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday. It was the first time in franchise history the Canucks recorded back-to-back shutouts on the road in consecutive days. Derek Dorsett, Shawn Matthias and Alexandre Burrows all scored in the second period and Kevin Bieksa supplied two assists for the Canucks, who beat Philadelphia 4-0 on Thursday. Cam Ward allowed all three goals on 13 shots over the first 40 minutes and Anton Khudobin turned aside all four shots fired his way in the third. Vancouver has won its last four games against the Hurricanes.

Final Score: NY Rangers 2, Columbus 1

Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 saves got the New York Rangers back on track with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. After being shut out by the Islanders and Boston over their previous two games, the Rangers received second-period goals from Marc Staal and Chris Kreider to support Lundqvist’s sharp effort. Derek Stepan assisted on both markers. Scott Hartnell produced Columbus’ lone goal and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 24 saves in the loss, the Blue Jackets’ fourth straight.

Final Score: Nashville 4, Washington 3

Barry Trotz received a warm welcome back from the Bridgestone Arena crowd in his return to Nashville. His former team didn’t quite return the generosity, however. James Neal scored his second goal of the night with 1:40 remaining, capping a furious late comeback from the Predators that produced a 4-3 triumph over Trotz’s Washington Capitals. Nashville overcame a 3-2 deficit by scoring twice in the final 4 1/2 minutes, with Mattias Ekholm netting the equalizer on a power play to help the Predators to their first five-game win streak in three years. Trotz was behind the bench for that run, as well as many others while serving as the Predators’ head coach for the franchise’s first 15 seasons of existence. That tenure came to an end when he was fired at the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign, shortly before taking over in Washington. Seth Jones added a goal and an assist for Nashville, while Carter Hutton came up with 31 saves in his first start since the Predators announced standout goaltender Pekka Rinne would miss 3-to-5 weeks with a sprained knee. Alex Ovechkin notched a pair of goals in the loss, which halted a stretch of 10 straight games of recording at least one point for the Caps. Braden Holtby finished with 26 saves.

Final Score: Winnipeg 4, Chicago 2

Chris Thorburn and Bryan Little scored 28 seconds apart in the third period to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Andrew Ladd and Zach Bogosian each posted a goal and an assist, while Michael Hutchinson stopped 31 shots for the Jets, who have won three straight. Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen each notched a marker for the Blackhawks, who have dropped two of their last three. Corey Crawford allowed three goals on 34 shots.

Final Score: Anaheim 5, New Jersey 1

Jakob Silfverberg scored twice as the Anaheim Ducks closed out an eight-game homestand with a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Patrick Maroon and Hampus Lindholm each tallied a goal and an assist, Corey Perry also lit the lamp and Ilya Bryzgalov made 14 saves in his third start of the season for the Ducks, who went 6-2-0 over their residency. Martin Havlat scored the lone goal for the Devils, who have dropped three of their last four games. Keith Kinkaid allowed four goals on 25 shots in relief of starter Cory Schneider, who appeared to suffer an upper-body injury after stopping a Matt Beleskey shot during the first period. Schneider turned aside 14 shots over the first 20 minutes.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Wawrinka, Djokovic in same half of Aussie Open draw

Swiss star Stan Wawrinka was drawn Friday to open the defense of his Australian Open title against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.

Wawrinka, who is seeded fourth, is in the top half of the draw with Serbian Novak Djokovic. The Swiss star outlasted Djokovic in a five-set quarterfinal thriller last year and stunned Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final to capture his first-ever Grand Slam title.

The top-seeded Djokovic, who holds four Australian Open titles, will play his first match against a qualifier.

Friday’s draw put Wawrinka’s countryman and four-time Melbourne winner Roger Federer in the bottom half with Nadal, the 2009 Aussie Open champ.

Federer, who is seeded No. 2, will start against Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, and Nadal, the third seed, is scheduled to face Russian Mikhail Youzhny in his first match.

Potential quarterfinal matchups are: Djokovic vs. Canadian Milos Raonic, Wawrinka vs. Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Nadal vs. Czech Tomas Berdych and Federer vs. Great Britain’s Andy Murray.

The Aussie Open begins on Monday.

►   Serena could face Wozniacki in quarters at Aussie Open

Five-time champion Serena Williams will play Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in her first-round match at the Australian Open, which will commence Monday in Melbourne.

Williams is seeking her first Aussie title in five years. From 2003 to 2010, she won five crowns, beating five former No. 1 stars in all of those finals (Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina and Justine Henin, respectively).

But Serena Williams hasn’t gotten past the quarters in Melbourne since the ‘10 championship, including a fourth-round loss a year ago. She is looking for her 19th Grand Slam singles title.

The world No. 1 great could meet former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals following Friday’s release of the draw.

Wozniacki, the No. 8 seed, faces American Taylor Townsend in the opening round, while Kvitova, seeded fourth, goes against a qualifier.

Last year’s Aussie runner-up Dominika Cibulkova, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska are also in the top half of the draw.

In the bottom half, reigning French Open titlist Sharapova, who plays a qualifier in the first round, could meet last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals and former Aussie runner-up Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals.

Bouchard, seeded seventh, plays German Anna-Lena Friedsam in the first round, while Ivanovic goes against a qualifier.

Simona Halep, Ekaterina Makarova and Angelique Kerber are also in the bottom half of the draw.

Li Na, the defending champion, retired toward the end of last season, opening the way for a new Aussie champ in 2015.

►   Kukushkin continues run, reaches Sydney finals

Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin continued his improbable run at the Sydney International tennis event, a final Australian Open tune-up.

Kukushkin, who ousted defending champion Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters, made quick work out of fifth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final.

It will be an all-qualifier final as 2011 Sydney runner-up Viktor Troicki of Serbia took care of Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-4.

This week’s winner will claim $80,000.

►   Vesely, Mannarino reach Auckland final

Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely had to get through a tough match with fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson to reach the final at the Heineken Open, a final tune-up for the Australian Open.

Vesely cruised through the first set and settled for a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over the South African Anderson on the hardcourts at ASB Tennis Centre.

Frenchman Adrian Mannarino will meet Vesely in the final after dispatching lucky loser Lucas Pouille 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

This year’s Auckland champion will earn $84,500.

►   Watson reaches Hobart final

Brit Heather Watson reached the final of the Hobart International tennis event with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over eighth- seeded American Alison Riske in the semifinals on Friday.

The match was interrupted by rain on multiple occasions, the last with Watson serving on match point at 5-4. Once play resumed, Watson double-faulted and Riske eventually broke to level the second set .

Watson finished the job in her next service game after earning a break.

The 22-year-old Watson reached her second WTA final after capturing the Osaka title in 2012. She will play American qualifier Madison Brengle.

Brengle fought past Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   California Chrome’s Derby win voted 2014 Moment of the Year

Thoroughbred racing fans have voted as the top racing moment of 2014 the Kentucky Derby victory of California Chrome.

Of the 10 nominated events for the 2014 National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Moment of the Year, California Chrome’s 1 3/4-length win in the $2 million Run for the Roses garnered the most votes cast. The 3-year- old’s win over longshot Commanding Curve received 30.5% of the online ballots.

“California Chrome’s win in the Kentucky Derby was the signature effort by one of the most popular racehorses of this decade,“ said Keith Chamblin, NTRA Senior Vice President of Marketing. “This year was arguably the deepest pool of moments we’ve ever had but in the end the fans reminded us that nothing trumps an awesome performance by a legendary horse.“

The winning moment will be recognized at Saturday’s 44th Annual Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park.

Last year’s winning “Moment” was Mucho Macho Man’s nose victory over Will Take Charge in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Here are the nominated moments with voting%ages:

Seven-year-old gelding Game On Dude wins the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths, becoming the first three-time winner in the Big ‘Cap’s rich 77- year history. (9.62)

With his victory aboard We Miss Artie in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez becomes the first North American rider to surpass $300 million in career earnings. (0.47)

California Chrome wins the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in front of a crowd of 164,906, second-largest in Derby history. He becomes the first horse bred in the Golden State to wear the garland of roses since Decidedly in 1962. It is the second Derby victory for jockey Victor Espinoza and first for Art Sherman, who became the oldest Derby-winning trainer at 77. (30.5)

California Chrome’s quest to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 36 years falls short as the heavy favorite dead-heats for fourth behind winner Tonalist in the 146th Belmont Stakes. The third-largest crowd in Belmont history, 102,199, watches the drama unfold, while another 20.6 million viewers, the second-highest Belmont viewership on record, tune in on NBC. In the aftermath co-owner Steve Coburn tells NBC’s Kenny Rice that the result is “a coward’s way out,“ a sound bite that is replayed countless times in mainstream media. (5.69)

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens saddles the top two finishers in the $1 million Travers, with V.E. Day besting stablemate Wicked Strong in the Mid-Summer Derby at Saratoga Race Course. (0.94)

Two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan returns after more than two months of recovery from emergency colic surgery to win the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course with John Velazquez up. (20.07)

Track announcer Tom Durkin calls the final race of his illustrious 43-year career at Saratoga Race Course. Following the featured Spinaway Stakes - in which “Condo Commando was splash-tastic!“ - Durkin is treated to a long standing ovation and an emotional retirement ceremony in the winner’s circle, coverage of which makes the front page of The New York Times. (17.49)

Two-time Horse of the Year Cigar dies at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital from complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck. The popular member of racing’s Hall of Fame, who once won 16 consecutive races, had resided at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions since his retirement in 1999. (4.99)

Jockey Rosie Napravnik announces her retirement and pregnancy live on NBC Sports after winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff aboard Untapable. (6.22)

Bayern survives a tense inquiry into bumping at the start to win a controversial running of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the first Classic win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, owner Kaleem Shah and jockey Martin Garcia. (3.99)

This was the 16th year that horse racing fans, through the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, have been able to cast votes for the top event in thoroughbred racing.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Indiana at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - FS-Indiana, SportSouth, DSS
Philadelphia at Detroit, 7:30 PM - TCN-Philadelphia, FS-Detroit, DSS
Atlanta at Chicago, 8:00 PM - SportSouth, WGN, DSS
Washington at Brooklyn, 8:00 PM - CSN-DC+, YES, DSS
Golden State at Houston, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Southwest, CSN-Bay, NBA TV, DSS
Minnesota at Denver, 9:00 PM - Altitude, DSS
Portland at Memphis, 9:00 PM - CSN-NW, SportSouth, DSS
LA Clippers at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, CSN-California, DSS
National Hockey League
Colorado at Tampa Bay, 7:00 PM - Altitude2, SunSports, DSS
Edmonton at Florida, 7:00 PM - SNET-West, FS-Florida, DSS
Carolina at Ottawa, 7:00 PM - FS-Carolina, CITY, DSS
Toronto at St. Louis, 7:00 PM - CBC, FS-Midwest, NHL Network, DSS
NY Islanders at Montreal, 7:00 PM - MSG+, SNET, DSS
Columbus at Boston, 7:00 PM - FS-Ohio, NESN, DSS
Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
Nashville at Detroit, 7:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, Detroit+, DSS
Washington at Dallas, 8:00 PM - CSN-DC, FS-Southwest, DSS
Arizona at Minnesota, 9:00 PM - FS-Arizona, North, DSS
Anaheim at Los Angeles, 10:00 PM - KCOP, FS-West, NHL Network, DSS
Calgary at San Jose, 10:00 PM - CBC, CSN-California, DSS
College Basketball
Tulsa at South Florida, 11:00 AM - ESPN U
Tulane at Houston, 12:00 PM - ESPNews
William & Mary at Towson, 12:00 PM - CSN-Mid-Atlantic, New England, Phil
Duke at Louisville, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Marquette at Xavier, 12:00 PM - FS1, MASN2
Rutgers at Minnesota, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Texas A&M at LSU, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Saint Louis at Dayton, 12:30 PM - NBCSN
Purdue at Penn State, 1:00 PM - ESPN U
Radford at Winthrop, 1:00 PM - Big South Network
North Florida at Stetson, 1:00 PM -
NC State at Florida State, 1:30 PM - ACC Network,
Ohio State at Iowa, 2:00 PM - ESPN
Miami-Florida at Notre Dame, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
Virginia at Boston College, 2:00 PM - RSN, NESN,
VA Commonwealth at Duquesne, 2:00 PM - CBSSN
UCF at Memphis, 2:00 PM - ESPNews
Wichita State at Evansville, 2:00 PM - MVC TV,
Holy Cross at Lehigh, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Florida at Georgia, 2:00 PM - CBS
American Univ at Lafayette, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Northern Ky at USC Upstate, 2:00 PM -
Lipscomb at Kennesaw St, 2:00 PM -
Rhode Island at Massachusetts, 2:30 PM - NBCSN
Baylor at Kansas State, 3:00 PM - ESPN U
Miami-Ohio at Buffalo, 3:00 PM -
Northern Colorado at North Dakota, 3:00 PM - Midco Sports Network
Green Bay at Detroit, 3:00 PM - WADL,
Texas-El Paso at TX-San Antonio, 3:00 PM - American Sports Network MASN
Indiana State at Drake, 3:05 PM - MC22
Chicago State at UMKC, 3:05 PM -
TCU at Texas Tech, 4:00 PM - ESPNews
Michigan State at Maryland, 4:00 PM - CBS
Ball State at Bowling Green, 4:00 PM -
UNC-Asheville at Campbell, 4:00 PM -
Syracuse at Clemson, 4:00 PM - ACC Network,
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh, 4:00 PM - ACC Network,
Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount, 4:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, Time Warner
Samford at Mercer, 4:00 PM -
Colgate at Navy, 4:00 PM - Patriot League Network
East Carolina at SMU, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Middle Tennessee at Louisiana Tech, 4:00 PM
Drexel at Delaware, 4:00 PM - CSN-Mid-Atlantic, New England, TCN-Phil
Vanderbilt at Miss State, 4:00 PM - FSN,
Kentucky at Alabama, 4:00 PM - ESPN
Colorado at Arizona State, 4:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
George Mason at George Washington, 4:30 PM - NBCSN
Butler at Georgetown, 5:00 PM - FS1
Bradley at Illinois State, 5:00 PM - CSN-Chicago,
Marshall at Fla Atlantic, 5:30 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
South Dakota at South Dakota St, 5:30 PM - Midco Sports Network,
Tennessee at Missouri, 6:00 PM - SEC Network
San Francisco at Santa Clara, 6:00 PM - CSN-California
Air Force at Utah State, 6:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
UNLV at San Diego St, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
West Virginia at Texas, 6:15 PM - ESPN
Utah at Arizona, 7:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Army at Bucknell, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Cleveland State at Youngstown St, 7:00 PM -
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State, 7:00 PM -
Western Carolina at Wofford, 7:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network
Valparaiso at Wright State, 7:00 PM -
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Wyoming at Fresno State, 7:00 PM -
Jacksonville at Fla Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM -
Providence at Creighton, 7:30 PM - FS1
Temple at Cincinnati, 7:30 PM - ESPN U
Elon at James Madison, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, CSN+
Portland at Pepperdine, 8:00 PM - Time Warner Cable
IUPU-Ft Wayne at Oral Roberts, 8:00 PM -
Texas State at Arkansas State, 8:05 PM -
Northwestern at Michigan, 8:15 PM - Big Ten Network
South Carolina at Auburn, 8:30 PM - SEC Network
Connecticut at Stanford, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Kansas at Iowa State, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Oregon State at Washington St, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Ole Miss at Arkansas, 9:30 PM - ESPN U
Colorado State at San Jose St, 10:00 PM - Mountain West Network
New Mexico St at Seattle, 10:00 PM - MASN
BYU at St Marys-CA, 11:00 PM - ESPN 2
Hawaii at UC Riverside, 11:30 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Texas Tech at Texas, 1:00 PM - Longhorn Network
Radford at Campbell, 1:00 PM -
Sacred Heart at St. Francis (PA), 1:00 PM -
Ball State at Buffalo, 1:00 PM -
Oklahoma at TCU, 2:00 PM - FS-Southwest
San Jose State at Colorado State, 2:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Maine at Stony Brook, 2:00 PM -
Wofford at Mercer, 2:00 PM -
Kent State at Northern Ill, 2:00 PM -
Detroit at Cleveland State, 2:00 PM -
Stetson at North Florida, 2:00 PM -
Milwaukee at Green Bay, 2:00 PM -
Wright State at Valparaiso, 2:30 PM -
West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 2:30 PM - FS2
SMU at Tulane, 3:00 PM - American Network
Baylor at Kansas, 3:00 PM - Jayhawk TV,
New Mexico at Boise State, 4:00 PM - Mountain West Network
St Mary’s at BYU, 4:00 PM - BYUtv
Arkansas State at Texas State, 4:00 PM -
North Carolina A&T at Hampton, 4:00 PM -
Ill-Chicago at Oakland, 4:00 PM -
Seattle at New Mexico State, 4:00 PM -
Fresno State at Wyoming, 4:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Utah State at Air Force, 4:00 PM - Mountain West Network
San Diego State at UNLV, 5:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Kennesaw State at Lipscomb, 5:00 PM -
USC Upstate at Northern Kentucky, 7:00 PM -
Florida Gulf Coast at Jacksonville, 7:00 PM -
Iowa State at Kansas State, 8:00 PM - FCS-Central
College Football
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
East-West Shrine Game, 4:00 PM - NFL Network
College Hockey
Michigan State at Penn State, 5:00 PM - ESPN U
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 6:00 PM - FS-North, Wisconsin, FS2
Massachusetts at New Hampshire, 6:30 PM - NBCSN
Cornell at Rensselaer, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
National Lacrosse League
Buffalo at Vancouver, 10:00 PM -, TSNGO
International Soccer
Derby County FC vs. Nottingham Forest FC, 7:10 AM - beIN Sport
Millwall FC vs. Ipswich Town FC, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Premier League Soccer, 9:55 AM - NBCSN
Empoli FC vs. FC Internazionale Milano, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Newcastle vs. Southampton, 12:30 PM - NBC
US Citta di Palermo vs. AS Roma, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 4:00 AM - Golf Channel
LATIN AMERICA - Amateur Championship, 10:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Sony Open, 7:00 PM - Golf Channel

Betty Wayne Wilson

The Gilmer Free Press

Betty Wayne Wilson

Age 85, of Vienna, WV went to be with the Lord, on January 14, 2015, at Camden Clark Medical Center.

She was born April 24, 1929, in Beech, WV, the daughter of the late Orlando H. and Ruby Price Wayne.

Betty graduated from Calhoun High School in 1947 and Marshall University in 1972.

She retired as an elementary school teacher in Wood and Ritchie counties.

She loved their West Virginia mountain cabin and spending time with her grandchildren. She loved watching the WV Mountaineers and Steelers Football.

She was a member of Wayside United Methodist Church in Vienna, Agape Fellowship, and Order of the Eastern Star.

Betty is survived by two daughters, Jennifer Doyle (Charles) of Vienna, and Valerie Borthwick (John) of Snowmass Village, Colorado; one son, James L. Wilson, Jr. (Linda) of Terra Alta, WV; one sister, Virginia Hall (Gareld) of Taylors, SC; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Dr. James L. Wilson; and a brother, Billy Joe Wayne.

A memorial service officiated by Rev. Greg Markins will be held for Betty at 11 aAM, Monday, January 19, at Wayside United Methodist Church in Vienna, with visitation one hour before the service at the church.

Internment at the Clover Cemetery in Roane County, WV, will take place at a later date.

Burnt House: New Mount Olive Church Revival - January 19-21, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia Hunters Harvest 2,385 Black Bears in 2014

West Virginia hunters harvested 2,385 black bears during the combined 2014 archery and firearms seasons, according to Colin Carpenter, Black Bear Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The preliminary harvest data for the combined 2014 seasons were 11 percent lower than the 2013 harvest of 2,692 bears. The black bear harvest of 2014 marks the fifth time in five years that the harvest has topped 2,000 and is tied for the third highest harvest on record.

“Mast conditions in 2014 helped some hunters and hurt others,” said Carpenter. “The 2014 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook documented vastly improved oak mast conditions over 2013. Historically, abundant oak mast has led to a decreased archery harvest and an increased December firearms harvest, and that scenario held true in 2014. Abundant oak mast statewide prevented archers from patterning bears effectively and led to a decreased archery harvest. However, abundant mast kept bruins out of their winter dens and available to be harvested in the December firearms season.”

Carpenter attributed the decrease in harvest during the September/October firearms seasons to a decrease in hunting days from six in 2013 to three in 2014 in the 16 counties that were open. There was a slight increase in harvest during the concurrent buck-gun/bear season over 2013. Overall, the decrease in archery and September/October firearms harvest was not offset by the increases in the buck-gun and December firearms harvest.

Hunters took 516 bears during the 2014 archery season. The top five counties were Webster (53), Preston (45), Fayette (42), Nicholas (39), and Randolph (39).

Firearms hunters harvested 1,869 bears during 2014. Hunters took 457 bears in September and October, 397 during the concurrent buck-gun/bear season, and 1,015 during the traditional December season. The top five counties were Pocahontas (182), Randolph (172), Greenbrier (167), Pendleton (167) and Webster (160).

The Gilmer Free Press





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Parkersburg Native Scott Cain Dulcimer Performance January 18 and 25,North Bend State Park‏

Fans of the dulcimer will enjoy hearing Parkersburg native Scott Cain perform live at North Bend State Park Sundays, January 18 and 25, 2015.

Playing the hammered dulcimer and lap dulcimer, Cain entertains with traditional music and song.

“Scott lets guests try playing the dulcimer and also talks about the instruments and his music,” said Ken Zebo, North Bend State Park activities coordinator.

Cain will play from Noon until 2:00 PM at North Bend State Park Lodge.

The Gilmer Free Press
Parkersburg native Scott Cain will play the hammered and lap dulcimers

Attendance is free.

North Bend State Park also features Sunday buffets in the lodge dining room.

For more information about North Bend State Park, visit or call 304.643.2931.

Steven Ray Hupp

The Gilmer Free Press

Steven Ray Hupp

Age 57, of Macfarlan, WV passed away January 10, 2015 at Glendale, WV.

He was born May 26, 1957 in San Antonio, TX the son of the late Frank Clay and Juanita Roberts Hupp.

Steven was a 1975 Harrisville High School graduate where he played Basketball. He was a member of Harrisville Lodge #98 AF & AM, 32nd degree Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Pennsboro Commandary #20 Knights Templar, Nemesis Shriners, Parkersburg, WV, O’Dell S. Long #25 Pennsboro, WV and Royal Arch Masons, Pennsboro, WV.

He was also a member of Bethel Chapel United Methodist Church, Dutchman.

He was a staunch member of the Democratic Party and dedicated member of I.U.O.E #132 with 32 years experience. He was exceptional in his chosen career as side boom operator and with other equipment related to the pipeline industry. He had a keen eye for the safety of his co-workers and himself. Steven spoke often of the friendships he had made in the pipeline industry over the years and had respect of other operators and that of his foreman as well.

He is survived by brothers and sisters, Dr. Marsha Gillis (John) of Gloucester, VA, Roberta Fran Tsuyana of Pueblo, CO, Brett Hupp of Lancaster, CA, Clay Hupp of New Martinsville, Rische Hupp of Elkton, VA and Janis Hupp of Keswick, VA; and many nieces and nephews.

Many people in life have a support system. However, Steven was a support system for many as well as a guiding hand and leader. In fact, it could be said that one of his many interests was that of helping others.

He was preceded in death by one brother, Randall Hupp.

Funeral services will be held at 1 PM, Saturday, January 17, 2015 at Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville with Rev. Sue Jones and Rev. Marsha Plybon officiating.

Burial will follow in the Hartley Cemetery, Brohard, WV.

Friends may call at the funeral home Friday from 4-8 PM and Saturday from 9 AM - 1 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations made to: Shriners Children’s Hospital, PO Box 1525, Ranson, WV, 25438,, or Hartley Cemetery, C/O Harry Dye, 440 Harley Ridge, Brohard, WV, 26138.

Wanda Lou Posey

The Gilmer Free Press

Wanda Lou Posey

Age 71, of Carrollton, OH (formerly of Greenwood, WV), departed this life on Monday, January 12, 2015, at her residence.

Wanda was born April 27, 1943 in Doddridge County, WV (Oxford Community) a daughter of the late John and Lora (Nutter) Richards.

She spent her life as a loving homemaker for her family. She was a graduate of Doddridge County High School.

She was a member of the Carrollton Baptist Church in Carrollton, OH.

She was a very crafty woman who enjoyed crocheting and while living in Canton, OH operated her own candy store out of her home.

She is survived by her daughters, Lora Michelle DaRe and Tonda Lou DaRe, both of Carrollton, OH; son, Thomas Nay II of Minnesota; grandchildren, JP DaRe, Mitchell DaRe, Kevin DaRe, Miranda DaRe, Mike Doberstein; great grandchildren, Noah Jenkins and Lorelei Doberstein, along with her 5 brothers and sisters.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Holly Richards and 1 brother.

Funeral services will be 1 PM, Saturday, January 17, 2015, at the McCullough Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro, with Pastor John Kopshina officiating.

Burial will follow in the South Fork Eastern Cemetery, Summers Community.

Friends may call from 4-8 PM on Friday, at the funeral home.

Opinion: Rusted Butter Knife Meet Nose

The Gilmer Free Press

Being a right wing celebrity de jour sure is expensive as declining health care subsidies and then reconstructive rhinoplasty eats up a lot of cash:

Grace Brewer….wanted to keep the catastrophic health insurance plan she once had, which she says fit her needs. But under the Affordable Care Act, the government’s health care reform law, the plan was discontinued because it did not comply with the law’s requirements, and her bills doubled to more than $400 a month….Though Brewer could pay less for a plan if she were to accept a subsidy from the federal government, she refuses. “I want to pay my own way,” she says. “I will not take a handout.”

I am taking a guess, but a $200 per month policy for a 60 year old woman that is medically underwritten probably has a $20,000 deductible, no mental health, no pre-exisiting conditions, low life time caps, minimal rehabilitation and recovery care. It is insurance for the lucky that won’t help too much on the Congrats You’ve Got Cancer conversation.

Klemencic, the sole proprietor of Ellenboro Floors in Ritchie County, West Virginia, says he sees the federal subsidy program as welfare, which he does not believe in. He also does not think the government has the constitutional authority to offer the subsidies…

Klemencic, who is a plaintiff in another Supreme Court case challenging the subsidies, says he has prepared for possible emergencies by adding medical coverage to his car insurance and setting aside funds….

Well the Supreme Court disagrees with your Constitutional interpretation as Congress can spend pretty much as it sees fit to spend.

As far as self-insuring through savings… good luck with that.

Paying cash for a even a medium size John Cole klutz incident will wipe most people out, and a cancer diagnosis will destroy the future of anyone outside of the top 2% or 3 %.

~~  Richard Mayhew - Balloon Juice ~~

Sports News   150114

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Herd finishes 23rd in final AP Poll

For the third time since moving to the FCS, Marshall has finished the season ranked in the Associated Press poll. The Thundering Herd was No. 23 in the final AP poll released after Monday night’s national championship game.

The Thundering Herd went 13-1 in 2014, capturing its first Conference USA championship and rolling over Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl.

It’s the first time in 12 seasons that Marshall has appeared in the final AP Poll.

Marshall was in the top 25 for seven weeks during the regular season in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. It climbed up to No. 18 before falling from both polls after a 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky in the final week of the regular season.

The Thundering Herd is the second-highest ranked Group of 5 team in the poll, behind Fiesta Bowl champion Boise State at No. 16. The Broncos (12-2) won the WAC and defeated Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl.

This is the fifth time a Conference USA team has finished in the final AP poll since Marshall joined the league in 2005.

In 1999, Marshall reached its highest ever ranking, finishing a perfect 13-0 and ranked 10th in the country. The Herd was ranked 24th in the final AP Poll in 2002.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   National Championship delivers 18.5 overnight rating

Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon in the College Football Playoff national championship game delivered an 18.5 overnight rating.

This marked a 21% increase over the 2014 BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn (15.3 rating). It also surpassed the 2011 BCS National Championship, which was the highest-rated game in cable history with a 16.1 rating.

In the primary home markets of the two schools, the telecast delivered a 51.2 in Columbus, meaning over 50% of households were tuned into the game, making it the No. 1 overall market. In Portland, Oregon, 37.6% of households were tuned into the game, which was the fourth best market in the overnight ratings.

►   Stretching the Field: Has the NCAA seen the light?

Isaac Newton declared for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

That wasn’t more evident when the NCAA took Penn State University to the woodshed with heavy sanctions in July 2012, stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The general consensus from those who bleed blue and white was outrage, and that the penalties handed down from NCAA president Mark Emmert were superfluous. Why did the football team have to suffer for the abominable actions of a convicted child molester?

As a Penn State graduate and enthusiast, that’s a question I asked myself while strolling the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, on a typical gorgeous July morning behind the high-rise hotels. A text message from one of my two older sisters sent my relaxed, high-spirited demeanor into a tailspin.

Emmert slammed his gavel to the tune of a four-year postseason ban, which was lifted this season, reduced scholarships, a hefty $60 million fine and players having permission to transfer elsewhere without penalty for one year. Illinois set up camp in Happy Valley and tried to recruit players as if they were enlisting in one of the armed services. Only nine players left.

It seems the university accepted the sanctions without hesitation and opted to fire legendary coach Joe Paterno via a telephone call. Makes sense. The man dedicated his life and some of his earnings to the school, so let’s show some class by moving him along with a phone call. Why not send an e-mail, a text message or use skywriting?

This past November, the NCAA released internal e-mails written in 2012 that show it was questioning its right to sanction PSU. With jurisdiction or not, the NCAA overstepped its boundaries and now looks foolish.

Paterno was deemed as an enabler to Sandusky for allowing the monster on campus and taking advantage of innocent lives through his underprivileged youth organization known as The Second Mile. We all know the story. Sandusky took miles to horrify children and deserves to rot in his cell, but the discipline levied by the NCAA was too harsh.

Yes, I am obviously a staunch supporter of Penn State, but I can separate my feelings for the school with reality. Did Paterno do enough to stop his former defensive coordinator from his lewd acts? No, he didn’t because mentioning it to his superiors doesn’t suffice in this day and age. Paterno, who was criticized for missing or ignoring signs of Sandusky’s behavior, ran University Park and pretty much still does. He would have been more of a hero had he cut ties with Sandusky.

I’m not trying to open old wounds that may have slightly healed. I feel the NCAA is trying to backtrack with a recent report it will eliminate the sanctions entirely and restore Paterno’s 111 vacated wins. Taking away wins was utterly embarrassing for the NCAA. How are you going to tell Michael Robinson and the rest of the Nittany Lions they didn’t beat Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl?

How can the NCAA tell the Paterno family, which is still pushing for a lawsuit, the 409 wins are no more? Paterno, who passed away after a bout with lung cancer shortly after his dismissal, compiled more wins than any other Division I football coach.

What Sandusky did was awful. Terrible. Disgusting. But it didn’t give Penn State an advantage athletically. There are other schools in the country with student-athletes who cheat in class, trade items for other goods, do drugs or run into the wrong arm of the law, and receive lesser sanctions.

Well, apparently the NCAA feels it was too harsh on Penn State and it was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer it may wipe out the sanctions. Former FBI director Louis Freeh led the investigation, saying top Penn State officials conspired to keep the abuse allegations under lock and key.

The NCAA seems to have opened its proverbial, and seemingly blind, eyes with the latest news of replenishment. I couldn’t be more happy for the university, the players, the students and alumni.

Bill O’Brien couldn’t have done a better job in his short tenure as Paterno’s successor and knew what he was walking into. He was Penn State’s Moses to the Israelites before taking an NFL gig with the Houston Texans. You can’t blame him for that. A statue in O’Brien’s likeness is deserved.

Paterno had a statue once. True story. It was located alongside Beaver Stadium, which should be called Paterno Field when all is said and done. Perhaps one day the bronze version of Paterno will reappear alongside a stadium that holds more than 100,000 fans.

Penn State coach James Franklin runs the show now in Happy Valley and maybe one day he will be immortalized by the creative hands of a sculptor. I may be going overboard here with the icons.

Franklin, though, has the Nittany Lions headed in the right direction and is living up to the recruiting moniker “Dominate The State.“ Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a Pin Stripe Bowl win over Boston College a few weeks ago.

It’s been awhile since Penn State dominated college football, but it feels even longer with what happened there a few years ago.

If this recent report of the NCAA realizing its mistake is true, Penn State can breathe more life into the program and restore its pristine reputation.  ~~  Shawn Clarke ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Check out the Atlanta Falcons’ new, ridiculously cool stadium

A series of conceptual drawings were brought to life on Tuesday when the Atlanta Falcons released a video showing the 3-D computer model of their planned new football stadium and, holy cow, is it awesome. The dramatic music that seems ripped straight from the soundtrack of an action movie certainly doesn’t hurt.

To review, you saw:

• A retractable stadium roof inspired by the oculus in ancient Rome’s Pantheon Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Atlanta’s city skyline

• A 100-yard long bar, which will be open to all

• A “technology lounge” set aside so fan can check in on their fantasy teams

• Several luxury zones for club-level ticket holders

• A “360-Degree HD Video Halo Board,” which is probably making Jerry Jones lose his mind.

About that last point, the halo board is the first of its kind, “a true game changer,” according to the stadium’s Web site. For one, it’s 58 feet tall, or nearly five-stories, with a 1,100-foot diameter, making it the largest video board in the world. Unlike the Jumbotrons of yore, this means ever person in the stadium will be able to easily view instant replays.

Alas, as exciting as it all sounds, the $1.4 billion stadium won’t be in use until the 2017 season, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. The Falcons will also have to share the space with Atlanta’s MLS team, NCAA Final Four basketball and various concerts and live events.

►   Steelers name Keith Butler defensive coordinator

The Pittsburgh Steelers promoted Keith Butler to defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

Butler served as the team’s linebackers coach the past 12 years and replaces legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who resigned on January 10.

“It’s the dream of a lifetime,“ said Butler on Tuesday. “There are only 32 of these jobs on this Earth. I am excited about the opportunity and I look forward to getting this process started immediately.“

Prior to joining the Steelers, Butler was linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns for four years. He has also served as defensive coordinator for Arkansas State University and linebackers/defensive ends coach at the University of Memphis, where he and current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin were on the same coaching staff in 1996.

“We are excited to announce Keith Butler as our defensive coordinator,“ said Tomlin in a statement Tuesday. “Keith has been an integral part of our defensive game planning and schemes for several years and we look forward to him moving into the role of calling the defense. His passion and energy will be important to us taking the next steps to being one of the top defenses in the NFL.“

Butler was a three-year starting linebacker at Memphis, leading the team in tackles his junior and senior year. He was a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 1978 and played 10 seasons with Seattle, where he still ranks second all-time in franchise history with 813 tackles.

LeBeau, 77, helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls following the 2005 and ‘08 seasons. He had been with the Steelers’ organization for 16 seasons.

►   Garrett, Cowboys nearing 5-year deal

Jason Garrett is close to a new five-year contract agreement to remain the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach, according to multiple media reports.

Garrett led the Cowboys to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys captured the NFC East title with a 12-4 record and then beat the Detroit Lions in the wild-card round before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round Sunday.

The 48-year-old Garrett became the Cowboys’ interim head coach in the middle of the 2010 season, replacing Wade Phillips, who was fired following the team’s 1-7 start.

Dallas finished the season 5-3 under Garrett, earning him the job on a full- time basis.

The Cowboys went 8-8 in each of the next three seasons, losing Week 17 games to division opponents to miss the playoffs each time.

►   Schwartz no longer with Bills

After just one season at the position, Jim Schwartz is out as Bills defensive coordinator.

Schwartz, formerly the head coach of the Detroit Lions, was tabbed to lead Buffalo’s defense after his successor, Mike Pettine, who ran the defense for the 2013 season, left to become Cleveland’s head coach.

“I have the utmost respect for Jim and what he has been able to accomplish throughout his career and I know he feels the same about me. Jim’s defenses are always tough and ranked near the top of the league standings,“ said new Bills head coach Rex Ryan in announcing the move on Tuesday.

“I wanted to give Jim the opportunity to pursue other opportunities and so we have terminated his contract. He did a terrific job with the Bills defense this past year and our plan is for our defense to continue to play well and be a dominating force.“

Under Schwartz, Buffalo ranked fourth in fewest points allowed (289), third in passing yards allowed per game (205.8) and 11th in rushing yards allowed per game (106.4).

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Free agent fantasy analysis

With the Super Bowl just a few weeks away, NFL free agents are thinking about their future. Fantasy owners in dynasty leagues have to do the same thing.

At some point over this long, cold winter, fantasy owners will have to decide which players on their roster to keep and which to abandon.

There won’t be much mystery at the quarterback position in 2015, as NFL teams have been particularly vigilant in signing their franchise-quality signal- callers.

But at both the running back and wide receiver positions, some of the very top players could be on the move which makes it a much tougher decision for fantasy owners.

Some might argue that a great player will be a great player no matter where he goes.

I have one name for you - Eric Decker.

If you had Mr. Decker on your fantasy team this season, I don’t have to remind you of what happened. For the rest, here is the story.

Decker had enjoyed two excellent seasons playing wideout in Denver after Peyton Manning arrived. The wideout’s combined numbers from 2012-13 were 258 receptions, 2,352 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns.

But Decker obviously wanted to “cash in” and signed a a multi-million dollar deal with the New York Jets before the 2014 season. Unfortunately, catching passes from Geno Smith and Michael Vick isn’t quite as easy as hauling them in from a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Decker caught just 74 balls for 962 yards and five touchdowns in 2014. And those totals only look respectable because he caught 10 balls for 221 yards and a touchdown in Week 17, which in most cases didn’t help owners because they came after the fantasy season had concluded already.

Owners who decided to keep Decker on their roster for the 2014 season are, in all likelihood, regretting that decision.

Below are 10 free agents for this season. At this moment, we don’t know where they will end up in 2015, but we can evaluate whether it’s likely to be better for their fantasy value or worse.

Running Backs

DeMarco Murray, Dallas - Running behind one of the strongest offensive lines in the league, Murray became a top-three fantasy option, rushing for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns. Even if he returns to Dallas, it would be hard to repeat those numbers because it’s unlikely the team would give him 497 touches for a second straight season. Or that even if the team wanted to, he could stand up to that type of workload. Playing in another city, with a weaker offensive line, Murray’s value could take a significant hit.

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo - Spiller spent another season frustrating fantasy owners. So much talent and so little production. If he stays in Buffalo, he’s still going to share the workload with Fred Jackson. That’s likely to be the same situation no matter where he goes.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego - Coming off a career-best 1,255 rushing yards in 2013, a lot was expected of Mathews and he failed miserably in 2014. Once again his body couldn’t take the pounding and he played just eight games this season. In a few situations, he could become a primary ball carrier, but it’s more likely he’ll end up in a RBBC (running-back-by-committee) either in San Diego or somewhere else.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans - Ingram was a major force through the middle of the season, rushing for over 100 yards four times in a six-week period from Week 8-13. But it appears the Saints will let him go this offseason. If he ends up with a team that isn’t so pass-happy, which is a virtual certainty since New Orleans threw the ball 659 times in 2014, his fantasy value could increase.

Justin Forsett, Baltimore - Forsett couldn’t have picked a better time to be a free agent. He posted career-best numbers in rushing yards (1,266), touchdowns (eight) and receptions (44). I think he’d be crazy to leave the situation in Baltimore, but he’s earned a starting spot wherever he lands for 2015. His fantasy value should stay at his current level.

Wide Receivers

Dez Bryant, Dallas - I can’t imagine circumstances in which Jerry Jones wouldn’t bring his star receiver back to Dallas either with a long-term contract or using the franchise tag. But if Bryant (88-1,320-16) leaves, he would be a fantasy star in any offense with a competent quarterback.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver - Like Bryant, Thomas (111-1,619-11) would be a star with any competent quarterback throwing him the ball, but having seen the Decker situation firsthand, I expect Thomas will want to continue catching passes from Manning. He’s already said he would offer a “hometown discount,“ so expect him in orange and navy blue next season and a top-three receiver with elite fantasy value.

Randall Cobb, Green Bay - The Packers’ No. 1 priority this offseason is signing Cobb and he’s more than likely going to continue catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. That will keep his fantasy value near the top of the charts, though we liked him a lot more back in 2012 when he also was returning punts and kickoffs.

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia - Maclin signed a one-year deal last season in hopes that he would prove himself healthy and he did just that in catching a career-best 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, he said he wanted to stay in Philly. On the other hand, he grew up in Missouri, went to college there and the coach who drafted him just happens to be in Kansas City and in desperate need of a talented wideout or two. In Philadelphia, he should be able to repeat his 2014 season, but in Kansas City or elsewhere, his fantasy numbers could take a hit.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore - Smith, who grew up in nearby Virginia and went to school at Maryland, has said he’d like to get a deal done with Baltimore. Given his improved play over the second part of the season, I think it’s possible the two sides will figure out a way to keep him with the Ravens. On the other hand, if he stays in Baltimore, he won’t be an elite fantasy wide receivers because wideout Steve Smith Sr. is his equal.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 13)

Saint Marys 58     Ritchie County 37

Calhoun County 53     Clay County 47

Lewis County 54     Grafton 50

#4 Fairmont Senior 74     Buckhannon-Upshur 42

#6 Robert C. Byrd 74     Elkins 37

#9 Lincoln 71     Philip Barbour 52

Fayetteville 65     Nicholas County 63

Wirt County 64     Tyler Consolidated 52

#2 Bridgeport 76     North Marion 58

►   Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 13)

#4 Williamstown 71     Doddridge County 38

Parkersburg 62     University 39

Parkersburg Catholic 58     Tyler Consolidated 35

Wood County Christian 68     Teays Valley Christian 50

The Gilmer Free Press

►   West Virginia crushes Oklahoma

Jevon Carter scored 18 points with a full line off the bench on Tuesday, leading No. 16 West Virginia to a convincing 86-65 win over 18th-ranked Oklahoma.

Devin Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Juwan Staten, WVU’s leading scorer, shot just 1-of-9 but made up for it by dishing out a game-high eight assists. Carter made 4-of-6 from 3-point range and added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“I thought he was really good in the second half,“ WVU coach Bob Huggins said about Staten. “He had a lot of assists and controlled the game.“

Nathan Adrian chipped in 11 points for West Virginia (15-2, 3-1 Big 12), which turned 22 OU turnovers into 27 points.

Buddy Hield scored 21 points and Isaiah Cousins had 14 on seven shots for Oklahoma (11-5, 2-2), but bench play was an issue once again in the Sooners’ second straight loss. Their four key reserves combined for just eight points, led by Khadeem Lattin’s four.

“We didn’t handle the ball very well,“ Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We turned it over and they got easy points off of those turnovers.“

West Virginia was the better team for 40 minutes, never trailing on its way to a wire-to-wire victory.

Williams scored the game’s first four points, and a pair of 6-0 runs near the midpoint of the first period made it 29-17.

Later, Ryan Spangler’s dunk at 3:24 had the Sooners within three, but four Mountaineers scored during a 10-0 spurt to end the period and send the hosts into halftime with a 45-32 lead.

Oklahoma was within 12 at 14:17 of the second half following a pair of Hield free throws, but turnovers on the next two possessions by the OU star contributed to West Virginia’s 8-0 run. Carter opened the flurry with a 3 and Elijah Macon scored the next five points.

Game Notes

Staten, who finished with four points, had scored in double figures every game this season ... Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard is shooting 6-for-30 over his last five games ... OU is 3-2 in the series since West Virginia joined the Big 12.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►   Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 13)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 86, Missouri 37

Aaron Harrison scored 16 points and No. 1 Kentucky, which lost some support in the polls following its first rocky week of the season, answered its critics by spanking Missouri 86-37 on Tuesday. Harrison made five of his seven shots from the perimeter and Karl-Anthony Towns did a bit of everything, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. Kentucky, which established itself as the nation’s top team during a dominant non-conference slate, was due for a big win following a pair of nailbiters last week. The Wildcats (16-0, 3-0 SEC) needed overtime to beat Ole Miss on Jan. 6, then survived a double-OT thriller against Texas A&M four days later. They returned to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena after those two road tests and returned to form, hitting 48.2 percent of their shots while limiting Missouri to just 27.1 percent shooting. Missouri’s leading scorer Johnathan Williams III only managed three points on 1-of-13 shooting. Wes Clark and Keanau Post both had 10 points to lead the Tigers (7-9, 1-2).

Final Score: (2) Virginia 65, Clemson 42

Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points to lead No. 2 Virginia in a 65-42 win over Clemson on Tuesday. Justin Anderson scored 15 points as the only other player in double figures for the Cavs (16-0, 4-0 ACC), who won the opening four ACC games on their slate for the first time since 1994-95. Jaron Blossomgame posted nine points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (9-7, 1-3).

Final Score: Miami-Florida 90, (4) Duke 74

When Duke heads to Louisville for Saturday’s marquee matchup with Louisville, it’ll do so having dropped back-to-back ACC games for the first time in six years. Manu Lecomte scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, leading a torrid shooting display from Miami-Florida after the break that propelled the Hurricanes to a stunning 90-74 upset of the fourth-ranked Blue Devils. Miami (12-4, 2-1 ACC) halted the nation’s longest home win streak in emphatic fashion, putting up 56 second-half points on an 18-of-27 effort from the field that included six makes in nine attempts from 3-point range. Lecomte and Angel Rodriguez were the catalysts of the onslaught, with the latter tallying 15 of his 24 points over the final 20 minutes. The duo combined to go 7-of-10 on 3-pointers for the game. Duke (14-2, 2-2) had prevailed in 41 straight tests at Cameron Indoor Stadium since an 88-70 loss to North Carolina on March 3, 2012. However, the shooting woes that plagued the Blue Devils in Sunday’s 87-75 defeat at NC State came back to haunt them again on Tuesday, resulting in the program’s first losing skid in conference play since Feb. 11-15, 2009. After shooting a season-low 36.9 percent from the floor against the Wolfpack, Duke made just 6-of-21 tries from beyond the arc to go along with a woeful 10- of-20 performance from the foul line. It’ll now take those struggles into a road showdown against one of the top defensive teams in the country in No. 6 Louisville. Quinn Cook did finish with 18 points in the loss, with Jahlil Okafor compiling 15 with 15 rebounds for the Blue Devils and Amile Jefferson posting 14 points and 12 boards.

Final Score: (6) Louisville 78, Virginia Tech 63

Terry Rozier’s 16 points led a balanced Louisville attack as the sixth-ranked Cardinals cruised to a 78-63 victory over Virginia Tech in an ACC clash. Rozier went 4-of-6 from 3-point range, while Wayne Blackshear hit three shots from beyond the arc in a 15-point effort in the Cardinals’ final tuneup before Saturday’s home showdown with No. 4 Duke. Montrezl Harrell and Mangok Mathiang each finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for Louisville (15-2, 3-1 ACC). Harrell added three blocks to anchor a Cardinal defense that held the Hokies to a 34.1 shooting percentage inside the arc. Adam Smith ended 5-of-7 on 3-point attempts and scored 19 points for Virginia Tech (8-8, 0-3). Justin Bibbs and Ahmed Hill had 15 and 14, respectively, in the Hokies’ fourth consecutive defeat.

Final Score: (9) Kansas 67, (24) Oklahoma State 57

Frank Mason III scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to help No. 9 Kansas beat 24th-ranked Oklahoma State 67-57 on Tuesday. Mason III was 9-of-11 from the free throw line, where Kansas (14-2, 3-0 Big 12) spent much of the night. The Jayhawks made 32 of their 46 attempts at the charity stripe and only attempted 43 shots from the field. Kansas also got 14 points and six rebounds from Kelly Oubre Jr. The Cowboys (12-4, 2-2) got 21 points from Le’Bryan Nash and 18 from Phil Forte, the Big 12’s two leading scorers. The pair totaled 20 of those points on free throws as Oklahoma State went 22-of-25 from the line. Beyond Nash and Forte, Oklahoma State got little production. The 10 other Cowboys that took the floor combined to shoot 7-of-29.

Final Score: (16) West Virginia 86, (18) Oklahoma 65

Jevon Carter scored 18 points with a full line off the bench on Tuesday, leading No. 16 West Virginia to a convincing 86-65 win over 18th-ranked Oklahoma. Devin Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Juwan Staten, WVU’s leading scorer, shot just 1-of-9 but made up for it by dishing out a game-high eight assists. Carter made 4-of-6 from 3- point range and added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Nathan Adrian chipped in 11 points for West Virginia (15-2, 3-1 Big 12), which turned 22 OU turnovers into 27 points. Buddy Hield scored 21 points and Isaiah Cousins had 14 on seven shots for Oklahoma (11-5, 2-2), but bench play was an issue once again in the Sooners’ second straight loss. Their four key reserves combined for just eight points, led by Khadeem Lattin’s four.

Final Score: (17) VCU 65, Rhode Island 60

Treveon Graham scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half and No. 17 VCU rallied from nine points down to beat Rhode Island 65-60 on Tuesday night. VCU took its first lead since the first half on Graham’s 3-pointer with 2 1/2 minutes left, part of a 12-2 run to end the game sparked by Melvin Johnson’s 3 on the previous possession. Mo Alie-Cox scored the last of his 10 points on a dunk during the surge and Johnson added nine points for VCU (14-3, 4-0 Atlantic 10), which has won nine in a row since falling to current No. 2 Virginia on Dec. 6. E.C. Matthews scored 22 points to lead Rhode Island (11-4, 3-1), which had a six-game winning streak stopped and lost for the first time in eight home games this season. Hassan Martin added 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss and Jarelle Reischel also scored 10. Rhode Island only scored two more points after Matthews’ leaning 3 from the right corner and Jared Terrell’s dunk gave it a 58-53 lead with under 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Final Score: Tennessee 74, (19) Arkansas 69

Josh Richardson scored 20 points and Tennessee knocked off No. 19 Arkansas 74-69 on Tuesday night after surviving a late rally by the Razorbacks. Arkansas found a hot hand, trimming a 16-point deficit in the second half to one with 13.9 seconds left on Anton Beard’s 3- pointer, which came after Devon Baulkman missed two foul shots at the other end. Kevin Punter made his free throws for a three-point Volunteers lead, then inexplicably fouled Beard on a long 3-point try with 5.1 seconds remaining. But Beard missed the first two foul shots, then the third one on purpose and Tennessee grabbed the rebound to hold on. Robert Hubbs III added 16 points and Armani Moore scored 14 for the Volunteers (10-5, 2-1 SEC), who have multiple wins over ranked teams for the ninth time in 10 seasons. The Vols beat then- No. 15 Butler in Knoxville on Dec. 14. SEC scoring leader Bobby Portis paced Arkansas with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Qualls added 15 points and Beard scored 12 for the Razorbacks (13-3, 2-1), who had a seven-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: Butler 79, (21) Seton Hall 75 (OT)

Roosevelt Jones made consecutive baskets late in overtime to help Butler beat No. 21 Seton Hall 79-75 on Tuesday night. Jones drove the baseline and made a reverse layup to put the Bulldogs up 75-72 with 56 seconds remaining. After Khadeen Carrington missed a jumper for Seton Hall, Jones powered down the lane for another layup. Carrington nailed a 3- pointer to pull the Pirates within three, but Jackson Aldridge sunk a free throw with four seconds left to seal the win. Jones finished with 23 points and eight rebounds for Butler (13-5, 3-2 Big East), which got nine points and 15 rebounds from Kameron Woods. Kellen Dunham had 21 points for the Bulldogs, but missed a potential game-winning jumper at the end of regulation. Sterling Gibbs made six 3-pointers and scored 30 points for the Pirates (13-4, 3-2). Carrington totaled 20 points in defeat.

Final Score: (23) Northern Iowa 63, Bradley 52

Seth Tuttle finished with 15 points and seven rebounds as No. 23 Northern Iowa held off Bradley for a 63-52 victory on Tuesday. Natt Buss supplied 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Paul Jesperson was 3-of-4 from 3-point range and finished with nine points for the Panthers (14-2, 3-1 MVC), who have won four straight games. Auston Barnes netted 14 points, Warren Jones scored 10 and Josh Cunningham had nine points and 11 boards for the Braves (6-11, 1-3), who were coming off a 66-56 loss to Evansville on Saturday.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Kevin Garnett suspended one game for head-butting Dwight Howard

The NBA announced early Tuesday Brooklyn Nets’ forward Kevin Garnett will be suspended for a game without pay after an ugly incident in which he head-butted Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard in Monday’s game at Barclays Center.

With 7 minutes 53 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Garnett and Howard got tangled under the basket while Howard was battling for position on the block. After the whistle blew, Garnett gave the Houston all-star a shove in the back, and Howard retaliated by appearing to tap Garnett in the stomach.

It escalated quickly after that as Garnett threw the ball into Howard’s lower back and advanced right in the face of him as he turned around for an exchange of words. Garnett, not really breaking stride, head-butted Howard and was subsequently restrained by Houston’s Trevor Ariza before Brooklyn assistant coaches got to him.

Garnett was ejected from the contest. For his role in the skirmish, Howard has been fined $15,000.

These two players have a history of on-court incidents as the two got physical with one another on the court in the Eastern Conference finals back in 2010. Howard was a member of the Orlando Magic while Garnett suited up for the Boston Celtics.

►   Nothin’ but Net: Midseason hardware

The Orlando Magic are the only team in the NBA who have reached the halfway point in the season.

So, if it’s good enough for one team out of 30, then we shall declare it the midpoint of the 2014-15 NBA season. In doing so, let’s examine where the awards would go if the campaign was drastically shortened, which, no one would cry a single tear about.


Almost every other pundit has tabbed Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors for this honor and I get it. Curry is the best player from the best team in the league, and, in the absence of a runaway contender, that formula is a solid means to an answer.

However, I believe Harden has been a more valuable player for the Rockets.

The statistics bare out pretty equal seasons. Harden is ahead in scoring, but Curry is up in assists. Pretty standard stuff since one is a shooting guard and the other is a point guard. (Although, I love that Harden is averaging a career-high 6.6 assists per game, which is second to LeBron James among non- point guards, and a near 90% clip from the foul line while leading the league in attempts.)

Here are the three things that give Harden an edge for me:

First, the Warriors are a much better, more complete team. Sounds like a plus for Curry, but Harden has done most of the heavy lifting in keeping the Rockets within four of the Warriors for the best record in the league. Curry is magnificent, but his team is loaded with two-way athletes in a manner that the Rockets are not. The overall talent is stronger in Golden State than in Houston, thus, making Harden’s achievements this season more impressive.

Second, when you are literally the butt of social media jokes about how horrendous a defender you are, it shows something to improve. Harden is not quite Gary Payton, but his defense has improved tremendously. He’s 12th in defensive rating and second in defensive win shares. Granted, those numbers changed with the arrival of Trevor Ariza and the continued solid defense from Dwight Howard, but Harden went from punch line to serviceable. The Rockets are third in opponents’ scoring and fourth in opponents’ field goal percentage. Last season, they were 23rd and seventh in those same categories. Harden isn’t at the heart of the turnaround, but he’s no longer weighing them down defensively like an anvil chained to the leg of a mob informant.

Finally, during an 11-game stretch when Howard was down with a knee injury from mid-November to mid-December, Harden kept the Rockets afloat, going 8-3 in the process. During that stretch, Harden averaged 29 points and 6.1 assists per game.

Curry hasn’t had to deal with anything like that. Adversity shouldn’t translate into automatic MVP victory. It’s not the Oscars, where an actress will win if she plays an alcoholic, single-mother stripper, whose daughter is a piano prodigy and mom must find a way to work a third job to pay for a good teacher as well as trips abroad so the daughter can perform in recitals.

Harden has kept the Rockets near the top of the league without a supporting cast like Curry’s. While Ariza has been a revelation, Howard is averaging nine- season lows in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Harden has taken a team, I’ll admit, I had missing the playoffs, and got them the fourth-best record in the NBA.

With less around him, I go Harden over Curry.


This is possibly the closest competition for an award I can remember. How could you not like Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks? With a stunningly similar roster that finished under .500 last season, Bud has the Hawks atop the Eastern Conference by four games (Al Horford is really important, too).

However, Kerr gets my nod for the simple fact that he made extraordinary coaching decisions that paid massive dividends. He started Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green over Andre Iguodala and David Lee. Kerr put two infants in there at the expense of 21 combined seasons, three All-Star appearances and $27 million in 2014-15 salary. And it’s worked unbelievably.

His lineup changed meant the Warriors’ starters can switch almost any time without massive consequence.

Kerr had the hard job of replacing Mark Jackson, who is not quite Phil Jackson, but had the eternal respect of his players. Kerr erased any doubts, and quickly.

I will fault no one who votes Budenholzer, but I think Kerr has done just a little more.


Since Jabari Parker’s injury, Wiggins was destined to pull away some. He has, but he would have even if Parker’s ACL didn’t tear.

Over the last 10 games, Wiggins is averaging 21 ppg. Granted, they are all Timberwolves’ losses, but Wiggins’ game is rounding out nicely. Remember, he started slowly at Kansas, then emerged.

As the T-wolves continue to be terrible, Wiggins is getting a chance to develop greatly. Shabazz Mohammed’s insertion into the starting lineup, thus moving Wiggins to the shooting guard, paid off handsomely for the No. 1 pick as well.


Know who leads the league in Defensive Rating and Defensive Win Shares? Draymond Green.

Know how to calculate either of those? (Not rhetorical, please help me.)

The Warriors rank first in opponents’ field goal percentage. Green is one integral piece of that team-oriented puzzle.

Andrew Bogut is a top-five defensive big man.

Kyle Thompson and Andre Iguodala are both upper echelon wing defenders.

Steph Curry is underrated and leads the league in steals.

But here’s why I like Green so much for this award - he’s a wonderful combination of all of those things and that versatility is what makes the Warriors a stout defense.

Golden State can constantly switch anything because players like Green can cover all five positions. To have that kind of flexibility is huge. Green is the best demonstration of that.


Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans, Williams, Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Isaiah Thomas of the Phoenix Suns are all close in scoring.

I feel like Williams and Thomas have done more for their teams in terms of helping them win games. I feel like Williams did more when DeMar DeRozan was gone to help Toronto keep pace. Thomas missed a few too many games.


I’ll say it - I hate this award.

It’s too hard to figure out the meaning of a three-word award.

Too many people vote for someone who gets more playing time than the season before. Is that technically improvement or did that player just receive a mountain’s worth of more run? Or did the player improve so much during camp, that he forced his way into this new-found time?

I’ve always favored the player who improves, not the one who receives more playing time, although, I’ve softened on that. There is a reasonable argument to be made that a player like an Alex Len of the Suns improved enough to crack the rotation.

But, I’m going with a player who didn’t receive a bump in minutes. That would’ve been next to impossible considering Jimmy Butler shared the league lead in minutes per game last season. He’s first again this season.

In literally ONE MORE MINUTE of playing time per game this campaign than last, here is the tale of Jimmy Butler:

2013-14 2014-15

Points per game: 13.1 20.9

Assists per game: 2.6 3.4

Rebounds per game: 4.9 6.2

3-point percentage: 28.3 34.2

field goal percentage: 39.7 46.4

free throw percentage: 76.9 83.0

That’s with ONE MORE MINUTE a game. There’s not a better example of improvement in the league.    ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►   NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, January 13)

Final Score: Minnesota 110, Indiana 101

Mo Williams poured in 37 of his career- high 52 points in the second half to fuel the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 110-101 win over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. Williams, who scored 16 points in the third quarter and 21 in the fourth, broke the franchise record for points previously held by Corey Brewer and Kevin Love. He also set the opponent scoring record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Williams’ effort helped the Wolves snap a 15-game losing streak overall and 10-game skid on the road. Minnesota hadn’t won since Dec. 10 at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, and hadn’t tasted victory on the road since Nov. 28 against the Lakers. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points, Thaddeus Young had 11 and Gorgui Dieng chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. C.J. Miles paced Indiana with 22 points and C.J. Watson deposited 17 points for the Pacers, who have dropped two straight and three of their last four.

Final Score: Atlanta 105, Philadelphia 87

Al Horford had his first career triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Atlanta Hawks routed the Philadelphia 76ers 105-87 on Tuesday night. Kent Bazemore netted 17 points off the bench, while Kyle Korver hit four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points for Atlanta, which is an NBA-best 23-2 over its last 25 games. Michael Carter-Williams posted 20 points, nine boards and four helpers to lead the 76ers, who had won three of their last four coming in, their best four-game stretch since winning four straight from Dec. 29-Jan. 4 a year ago.

Final Score: Washington 101, San Antonio 93

John Wall had 25 points and eight assists as the Washington Wizards ended a historic losing streak to San Antonio, holding off the Spurs for a 101-93 win. Kevin Seraphin scored 11 of his season-high 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Wizards, who beat San Antonio for the first time since Feb. 9, 2005. Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce added 13 points apiece, and Marcin Gortat pulled down 11 rebounds. The Spurs had won the previous 17 meetings. San Antonio got between five and 14 points from 10 players in a balanced scoring effort. Tony Parker led the bunch with 14 points, and Tim Duncan had 11 points and 12 boards for his first double-double since December.

Final Score: Phoenix 107, Cleveland 100

Markieff Morris scored a career-high 35 points and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-100 on Tuesday night. James had 33 points in under 37 minutes after missing the previous two weeks because of back and knee injuries. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavs come back from 19 down in the third and take the lead four times in the last 7 1/2 minutes. P.J. Tucker had 10 points for the Suns and made two hustle plays that led to four consecutive free throws down the stretch to help them hang on.

Final Score: Golden State 116, Utah 105

Stephen Curry had 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Utah Jazz 116- 105 on Tuesday night. Curry also had 11 assists, Draymond Green posted 15 points and Klay Thompson added 12 for the Warriors, who have won seven straight games. Derrick Favors tallied 22 points and 11 rebounds, Rudy Gobert supplied 16 points and 11 boards and Enes Kanter provided 13 points and 10 rebounds for Utah, which has dropped three consecutive contests and four of its last five.

Final Score: Dallas 108, Sacramento 104 (OT)

Monta Ellis had 28 points, 10 assists and four steals and the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Sacramento Kings 108-104 in overtime on Tuesday night. Tyson Chandler posted 16 points and 17 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo added 21 points, seven helpers and four swipes for Dallas, which snapped a brief two-game losing streak on the heels of a six-game winning stretch. DeMarcus Cousins was an assist shy of a triple-double, tallying 32 points, 16 boards and nine helpers before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Darren Collison provided 18 points and seven boards for the Kings, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven contests.

Final Score: Miami 78, LA Lakers 75

Mario Chalmers scored 19 points with eight assists to help the Miami Heat in a 78-75 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Hassan Whiteside continued his strong play with 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Miami, while Chris Andersen supplied 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the win. Dwyane Wade scored four points with five rebounds and five assists in the first half for the Heat before exiting in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring. He did not return. Kobe Bryant, Jordan Hill and Ed Davis each deposited 12 points for the Lakers, with Bryant going 3-of-19 from the floor.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Royals give Yost extension

After helping the Royals to the postseason for the first time in 29 years, Kansas City rewarded manager Ned Yost with a one-year contract extension on Tuesday.

The new deal will take Yost through the 2016 season.

Kansas City won 89 games in 2014 to clinch one of two wild card spots in the American League. Yost then became the first manager in major league history to win his first eight postseason games, capping it with the American League title.

The Royals took San Francisco to a seventh game in the 2014 World Series, before losing the deciding game.

Overall, Yost is 830-904 in 11 seasons as manager, going 373-402 in his time with the Royals. He trails only Whitey Herzog (410) and Dick Howser (404) for wins in franchise history.

►   Nationals sign Carp, Lerud to minor league deals

The Nationals signed infielder/outfielder Mike Carp and catcher Steven Lerud to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training on Tuesday.

Carp was with Texas and Boston last season, hitting a combined .175 in 59 games. He is a career .254 hitter with 27 homers and 127 RBI in 318 games over six seasons with Seattle, Boston and Texas.

Lerud spent last year in the Braves’ organization, hitting .250 with four homers and 19 RBI in Triple-A Gwinnett.

►   Yankees pick up RHP Martin from Rockies

The New York Yankees have acquired pitcher Chris Martin from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for cash considerations.

Martin made his big league debut last season and appeared in 16 games for the Rockies. He had no record with a 6.89 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.

The 28-year-old right-hander struck out 14 and walked only four. He has a 3.25 ERA with 230 strikeouts in 249 minor league innings.

New York also designated pitcher Gonzalez Germen for assignment. The Yankees had acquired Germen from the Mets for cash in December.

The Gilmer Free Press

►   NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, January 13)

Final Score: Boston 4, Tampa Bay 3

David Pastrnak recorded his second straight two-goal game and the Boston Bruins upended the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, at TD Garden. Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic also tallied for the Bruins, winners of four straight after losing three in a row. David Krejci and Torey Krug each posted a pair of assists while Tuukka Rask contributed 16 saves to the victory. Steven Stamkos tallied twice and Ryan Callahan once for the Lightning, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 19-20. Ben Bishop surrendered four goals on 34 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Detroit 3, Buffalo 1

Petr Mrazek stopped 25 shots and the Detroit Red Wings walked away with a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm all scored for the Red Wings, who have won three of their last four. Kyle Quincey posted two assists. Mike Weber scored the only goal of the game for the Sabres, who have lost their last eight games. Michal Neuvirth gave up all three goals on 30 shots. In a pregame ceremony, the Sabres retired the number 39 of former goaltender Dominik Hasek.

Final Score: NY Islanders 3, NY Rangers 0

Jaroslav Halak’s 27 saves and a dominant second period kept the Islanders the toast of New York, as the current Metropolitan Division leaders dealt the crosstown rival Rangers a 3-0 defeat at Madison Square Garden. Anders Lee, Nikolay Kulemin and Frans Nielsen all lit the lamp during the middle session to help the Islanders close out a season-high seven-game road trip with five wins and remain ahead of Pittsburgh for the division lead. The Rangers entered Tuesday’s anticipated showdown with victories in 13 of their previous 14 games, but couldn’t maintain the momentum as Halak outplayed Henrik Lundqvist and the Isles finished with a 44-27 advantage in shots. Lundqvist was replaced by Cam Talbot at the start of the third period after stopping 29-of-32 chances.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 7, Minnesota 2

David Perron posted two goals and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins powered past the slumping Minnesota Wild 7-2 on Tuesday. Paul Martin, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang each finished with a goal and an assist, Marcel Goc and Brandon Sutter also lit the lamp and Sidney Crosby tallied three assists for the Penguins, who improved to 8-2 this season against Western Conference opponents. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves in the win. Jonas Brodin and Justin Fontaine each scored for the Wild, who dropped their sixth straight game. Niklas Backstrom allowed six goals on 35 shots and John Curry gave up a goal on two shots in relief.

Final Score: Carolina 3, Colorado 2 (SO)

Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm scored on Carolina’s first two chances in the shootout, and the Hurricanes overcame blowing a third-period lead to top the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Avalanche rallied with goals from Matt Duchene and John Mitchell, but were shut out by Anton Khudobin in the tiebreaker. Rask opened the shootout with a deke to the backhand. Lindholm also used the backhand to lift the puck over Calvin Pickard’s right pad. Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer scored in regulation for the Hurricanes, who improved to 4-1-1 in January. Khudobin made 28 saves. Pickard stopped 44 shots for Colorado, which has opened a five-game road trip with consecutive one-goal losses.

Final Score: St. Louis 4, Edmonton 2

David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko each posted a goal and an assist to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen each scored a goal for the Blues, who have won five straight. Jake Allen allowed two goals on 15 shots. Benoit Pouliot scored twice for the Oilers, who have lost their past two. Ben Scrivens allowed four goals on 29 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Nashville 5, Vancouver 1

Colin Wilson registered a season high of four points thanks to two goals and two assists as the Nashville Predators downed the Vancouver Canucks, 5-1, at Bridgestone Arena. Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher also tallied for the Predators, the Central Division leaders who have won four in a row and six of their last seven. Pekka Rinne stopped 20-of-21 shots before exiting early in the third period. The Finnish netminder was knocked backwards into the end boards in a collision between Vancouver’s Chris Higgins and defenseman Anton Volchenkov. He was listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Carter Hutton finished the final 17-plus minutes with 10 stops. Alex Edler supplied the lone offense and Eddie Lack stopped just 25-of-30 shots for the Canucks, who have lost three in a row.

Final Score: Winnipeg 8, Florida 2

Mathieu Perreault scored four goals to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a convincing 8-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Perreault’s first two goals gave the Jets a 2-0 lead in the first period, and his next two were scored barely a minute apart late in the second period. Winnipeg got a pair of goals and an assist from Dustin Byfuglien. Jay Harrison and Evander Kane also lit the lamp for the Jets. Michael Hutchinson made 25 saves to help the Jets win for the second time in three games. Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 20 shots for the Panthers before being yanked from the game. Al Montoya did not fare any better, allowing four more on 15 shots as Florida had its three-game winning streak snapped. Dave Bolland and Brad Boyes scored for the Panthers.

Final Score: Dallas 5, Ottawa 4

John Klingberg scored twice as the Dallas Stars ended a four-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky each tallied a goal and an assist and Trevor Daley also lit the lamp for the Stars, who have earned points in 11 of their last 12 games against the Senators. Anders Lindback stopped 34-of-36 shots after Kari Lehtonen gave up two goals on five shots early in the game. Mike Hoffman, Jared Cowen. Clarke MacArthur and Milan Michalek all scored for the Senators, who have lost four of their last five. Robin Lehner allowed all five goals on 29 shots in defeat.

Final Score: San Jose 3, Arizona 2

Brenden Dillon’s first goal of the season came in the third period and gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl each had a goal for the Sharks, who had lost their previous two. Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots in the win. Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker each scored for the Coyotes, who have dropped three of four. Devan Dubnyk gave up all three goals on 25 shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

► Tour announces 2015 schedule

The Tour announced its 2015 schedule on Tuesday and the new campaign will begin in just over two weeks and will feature 25 events.

The season will commence with the Panama Claro Championship on January 29 and will run through February 01. The following week the tour will head to Colombia for the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, which kicked off the 2014 season.

After three weeks off, the Tour will be back in Colombia for a new event, the Karibana Championship, which will be played from March 05-08. The next two events will be held in South America. The Brasil Champions is to be played March 12-15, followed by the Chile Classic from March 19-22.

The first event inside the U.S. will once again be the Chitimacha Louisiana Open from March 26-29 before heading to Mexico three weeks later for the El Bosque Mexico Championship.

The tour then returns to the U.S. for six straight events, which are the WNB Golf Classic, United Leasing Championship, BMW Charity Pro-Am, Rex Hospital Open, Rust-Oleum Championship and Air Capital Classic.

The Rust-Oleum Championship was formerly the Cleveland Open, which joined the tour last season.

Following the Nova Scotia Open in Canada, the tour’s regular season wraps up with seven straight events in the United States, finishing up at the WinCo Foods Portland Open.

Also during that stretch will be the Boise Open, Stonebrae Classic, Utah Championship, Midwest Classic, Price Cutter Charity Championship and News Sentinal Open.

Twenty-five PGA Tour cards will be up for grabs once again during the Tour Finals for those who did not secure one of the 25 awarded during the regular season.

Like the past two seasons, the Finals will feature four events beginning with the Hotel Fitness Championship followed by the Chiquita Classic and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. The season once again comes to a close at the Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“The success of the Tour is due in large part to an incredible tournament and sponsor base, which allows us to enjoy a strong tournament schedule year in and year out,“ said Tour president Bill Calfee. “We are most appreciative of their efforts as we collectively work to keep building the foundation of this tour and have a greater impact in the communities where we play.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►   Halep pulls out; Kvitova wins, Radwanska falls in Sydney

Top seed Simona Halep pulled out of the tournament, while Petra Kvitova advanced and Agnieszka Radwanska lost Tuesday at the Sydney International tennis event, a final hardcourt Australian Open tune-up.

The French Open runner-up Halep, fresh off her title in Shenzhen, China, last week, cited gastroenteritis as the reason for her withdrawal. She believes she contracted the illness while in China and hopes to fully recover in time for the Australian Open, which begins Monday in Melbourne.

“During the tournament in China I got this problem in my stomach,“ explained Halep. “I was waiting until today to see if I was ready to play again, but I feel like I cannot play. It’s tough to play a tournament like this, so unfortunately I decided to withdraw.“

Fourth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki withdrew from this tournament Monday with a wrist injury.

American Nicole Gibbs replaced Halep in the draw and was promptly double- bageled in 38 minutes by rising Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 on a rainy day in Sydney.

Meanwhile, the second-seeded Wimbledon champion Kvitova defeated Chinese Peng Shuai 6-1, 7-5, while rising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza ousted the third-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

In other second-round play involving seeds, No. 5 Angelique Kerber, a runner- up here a year ago, outlasted Russian wild card Daria Gavrilova 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro upended No. 6 Russian Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and wild card and Aussie favorite Jarmila Gajdosova knocked out seventh-seeded Aussie Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Cibulkova was a finalist in Sydney two years ago.

Also on Day 3, American Madison Keys beat qualifier and defending Sydney champion Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 1-4, retired and Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova dismissed Aussie favorite, former U.S. Open champ and 2005 Sydney runner-up Samantha Stosur 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. Pironkova upset Kerber in last year’s final here.

Wednesday’s quarterfinals will pit Kvitova against Gajdosova; Kerber versus Muguruza; Keys against Zahlavova Strycova; and Pliskova versus Suarez Navarro.

This week’s winner will take home $124,000.

►   Del Potro returns a winner in Sydney

Playing his first tennis since last February, wild card Juan Martin del Potro returned a winner Tuesday at the Sydney International tennis event, a final Australian Open tune-up.

The reigning champion from Argentina handled Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in opening-round play on the hardcourts at NSW Tennis Centre.

The oft-injured 2009 U.S. Open champion del Potro had been sidelined for 11 months with a wrist injury.

“It was a great moment for me,“ del Potro said. “I think I played well in my first match after 10 months. I served well. My forehand is still working out. So that’s a good signal for the future. I need to work very hard to my backhands and my movements, but I think now is time to think about my comeback and enjoy this moment a lot.

“I’ve been at home for a long time; [it’s been] really sad. To be honest, I didn’t expect this moment to be early in the season. I’m so happy, so glad. I would like to share with a lot of people who were behind me last year, but all of them are in Argentina. So I will meet them once again very soon.“

The tall slugger, unseeded this week, beat Aussie and 2013 Sydney titlist Bernard Tomic in last year’s final here.

Tomic whipped Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-1, 6-2 on Day 2.

In action involving seeds, No. 7 Frenchman Jeremy Chardy handled American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4 and Serbian qualifier and 2011 runner-up Viktor Troicki knocked out No. 8 Slovak Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-3.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Pablo Andujar doused Finnish qualifier, 2012 champion and 2009 runner-up Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 6-2; Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller overcame Aussie wild card Sam Groth 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6); Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin topped Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6 (7-1); Canadian Vasek Pospisil bested Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); and Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz outlasted promising Aussie Nick Kyrgios 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5).

In some second-round action on Wednesday, top-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini will face del Potro and second-seeded Belgian David Goffin will meet Italian Simone Bolelli.

This week’s winner will claim $80,000.

►   Giraldo, Garcia-Lopez exit Auckland

Seeded players Santiago Giraldo and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez were a pair of losers Tuesday at the Heineken Open, a final tune-up for the Australian Open.

French qualifier Kenny De Schepper upended the sixth-seeded Colombian Giraldo 6-2, 6-3, while Argentine Diego Schwartzman doused the seventh-seeded Spaniard Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 on the hardcourts at ASB Tennis Centre.

Ninth-seeded 2014 runner-up Yen-Hsun Lu moved on by holding off Argentine Juan Monaco 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.

Two-time winner John Isner is not defending his title this year after beating Taiwan’s Lu in last year’s final.

Meanwhile, American Donald Young overcame Japanese qualifier Go Soeda 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-3.

Additional wins came for Colombian lucky loser Alejandro Falla, wild card Michael Venus of New Zealand, Spaniards Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pablo Carreno Busta, and Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely.

This year’s champion will earn $84,500.

►   Watson beats Stephens in Hobart

Great Britain’s Heather Watson continued her dominance of Sloane Stephens on Tuesday with a straight-set victory in the second round of the Hobart International.

Watson rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 triumph for her fourth win in as many tries against the fifth-seeded American. The other three matches went three sets, but it was no contest on Tuesday as Watson made it a rout by winning nine of 10 games after the match was even at 3-3.

Next up for Watson will be ninth-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci, who rallied Tuesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Germany’s Annika Beck. Vinci was down a set and a break before battling back.

Japan’s Kurumi Nara also advanced with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 triumph over Swedish qualifier Johanna Larsson.

Tuesday’s evening match between third-seeded Camila Giorgi of Italy and Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi was postponed. It was rescheduled for Wednesday with the remainder of the second-round matches.

The top two seeds will also be in action Wednesday, as top-seeded Casey Dellacqua of Australia will meet Italy’s Karin Knapp and second-seeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan will square off against Slovakian wild card Daniela Hantuchova.

This year’s Hobart titlist will earn $43,000.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
San Antonio at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, SportSouth, DSS
Houston at Orlando, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Southwest, FS-Florida, DSS
Philadelphia at Toronto, 7:30 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, TSN, DSS
New Orleans at Detroit, 7:30 PM - FS-New Orleans, Detroit, DSS
Memphis at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, YES, DSS
Washington at Chicago, 8:00 PM - CSN-DC, Chicago, ESPN
Atlanta at Boston, 8:00 PM - CSN-New England, DSS
Dallas at Denver, 9:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Altitude, DSS
Miami at Golden State, 10:30 PM - SunSports, CSN-Bay, DSS
LA Clippers at Portland, 10:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, KGW, ESPN
National Hockey League
Montreal at Columbus, 7:00 PM - SNET, FS-Ohio, DSS
Philadelphia at Washington, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Toronto at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - SNET-Ontario, KCOP, DSS
New Jersey at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - MSG+, FS-West, DSS
College Basketball
Harvard at Boston College, 7:00 PM -
Binghamton at Albany, 7:00 PM -
Navy at Bucknell, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Northern Ill at Buffalo, 7:00 PM -
Miami-Ohio at Central Michigan, 7:00 PM -
Boston University at Colgate, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
La Salle at Dayton, 7:00 PM - WHIO
Houston at East Carolina, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - RSN,
Loyola-MD at Lafayette, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Rutgers at Maryland, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
North Carolina at NC State, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Florida Gulf Coast at North Florida, 7:00 PM -
Hofstra at Northeastern, 7:00 PM - NBCSN
Kennesaw State at Northern Kentucky, 7:00 PM -
LSU at Ole Miss, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
St. John’s at Providence, 7:00 PM - FS1
George Mason vs. St Bonaventure, 7:00 PM - MASN
SMU at Temple, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Tulane at UCF, 7:00 PM -
Winthrop at UNC Asheville, 7:00 PM - Big South Network
Ball State at Western Michigan, 7:00 PM -
Cleveland State at Wright State, 7:00 PM - Time Warner,
Lehigh at American University, 7:30 PM - Patriot League Network
Army at Holy Cross, 8:00 PM - MASN2, Patriot League Network
Detroit at Ill-Chicago, 8:00 PM -
Texas Tech at Kansas State, 8:00 PM - ESPNews
Drake at Loyola-Chicago, 8:00 PM -
Nebraska Omaha at Oral Roberts, 8:00 PM -
Duquesne at Saint Louis, 8:00 PM - FS-Midwest
North Dakota State at South Dakota, 8:00 PM - Midco Sports Net,
Southern Ill at Wichita State, 8:00 PM - COX,
Evansville at Missouri State, 8:05 PM - Mediacom
Youngstown State at Milwaukee, 8:30 PM - Time Warner,
Iowa State at Baylor, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Nevada at Colorado State, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Creighton at Marquette, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Air Force at New Mexico, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
Illinois at Northwestern, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Florida State at Pittsburgh, 9:00 PM - RSN, ROOT-Pittsburgh,
UCLA at USC, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Georgia at Vanderbilt, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Xavier at Villanova, 9:00 PM - FS1
Fresno State at San Jose State, 10:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Stanford at California, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
San Diego State at Wyoming, 11:00 PM - ESPN 2
Women’s College Basketball
Wright State at Milwaukee, 6:00 PM -
North Florida at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM -
Northern Kentucky at Kennesaw State, 7:00 PM -
Lipscomb at USC Upstate, 7:00 PM -
Jacksonville at Stetson, 7:00 PM -
Temple at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - SNY,
SMU at South Florida, 7:00 PM -
NC State at Louisville, 7:00 PM -
Akron at Toledo, 7:00 PM -
Texas Tech at West Virginia, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh
Texas at Oklahoma, 8:00 PM - Sooner Sports
Northwestern at Iowa, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
TCU at Kansas, 8:00 PM - Jayhawk TV,
Cincinnati at Memphis, 8:00 PM -
East Carolina at Tulsa, 8:00 PM - American Athletic Network
International Soccer
Parma FC vs. Cagliari Calcio, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Torino FC vs. S.S. Lazio, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport

Fredecia E. Hayhurst Edwards

The Gilmer Free Press

Fredecia E. Hayhurst Edwards

Age 89, of Pennsboro, WV, passed away on Sunday, January 11, 2015, at Worthington Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Parkersburg.

Fredecia was born December 09, 1925, in Pennsboro, WV, a daughter of the late J.R. “Slim” and Dulcia Mae (Frederick) Hayhurst.

She was a proud graduate of Pennsboro High School with the class of 1944, and she went on to earn her legal secretary degree from Potomac State College in 1946. After her graduation, Fredecia moved to Washington, D.C., and became a legal secretary for an independent lawyer until his retirement. She then worked for and retired from the Air Line Pilots Association in Washington, D.C., where she traveled extensively around the world.

She greatly enjoyed traveling, ice skating, and playing golf. She was a member of the Ellenboro Order of Eastern Star #20 and was a recipient of her 50-year pin.

She was a member of the Pennsboro United Methodist Church.

She is survived by her brother, Nelson Hayhurst and wife, Evelyn, of Pennsboro, WV; nieces, Pam Hayhurst and Kelly (Hayhurst) Amos; nephews, Steve, Mark, Brian, Dave, and Bruce Hayhurst; along with her great-nieces and nephews; and great-great-nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Robert Hayhurst and his wife, Bernadine (Smith) Hayhurst, and Leyland Hayhurst and wife, Betty Ann (Howard) Hayhurst.

Funeral services will be 1 PM, Wednesday, January 14, at the McCullough Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro, with Pastor Bill Durst officiating.

Burial will follow in the Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery.

Friends may call from 11 AM - 1 PM, on Wednesday, January 14, at the funeral home.

Rose Ann Chaddock

The Gilmer Free Press

Rose Ann Chaddock

Age 56, of Pennsboro, WV, departed this life on Monday, January 12, 2015, at Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, WV.

Rose was born April 11, 1958 on Hushers Run near Pennsboro, WV a daughter of John Junior Mossor of Pennsboro, WV and the late Beatrice Marie (Gray) Mossor.

Rose worked in the garment industry of Ritchie County as a seamstress for many years. She was a graduate of Pennsboro High School with the class of 1978.

She was a member of the Harrisville Apostolic Church.

In addition to her father, she is survived by her loving husband of 37 years, Roger Chaddock; brothers, John Mossor (Dixie) and James Mossor both of Pennsboro, WV; brother in laws, Mark Chaddock and Dave Chaddock of Harrisville, WV; sister in laws, Barb Chaddock of Paden City, WV and Tammy Davis of Ellenboro, WV; nieces and nephews, Amanda Mossor of Pennsboro, WV; James Robinson of Pennsboro, WV; Karrie Aliff (Josh) of Harrisville, WV; great nieces and nephews, Wyatt Aliff; Arianna Robinson and John Joseph Robinson, and a lifelong family friend, Mary Richards of Pennsboro, WV

In addition to her mother, she was preceded in death by her sister, Peggy Marie Robinson; infant brother, John Junior Robinson; sister in laws, Donna Mossor; Gretchen Chaddock; brother in law, Charlie Chaddock, and her mother and father in law, Charles and Gretchen Chaddock.

Funeral services will be 1 PM, Friday, January 16, 2015, at the McCullough Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro with Rev. Alan Adams officiating.

Burial will follow in the Harrisville IOOF Cemetery.

Friends may call from 4-8 PM, on Thursday, at the funeral home.

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